HP Untethers VR But Is the Backpack Soon to be Obsolete?
Andrew Wheeler posted on August 10, 2017 | 1329 views

If you’ve had the inclination and chance to try out a standalone virtual reality (VR) headset like the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, chances are you noticed that being tethered to a workstation tower can make you feel as though you must be extremely cautious and move slowly while inhabiting your virtual environment.

The HP Z VR Backpack has hot-swapping batteries, which means that you can continuously charge one battery while using the other. The battery lasts about 90 minutes, so you’re looking at around 5 changes every 8 hours.Intel’s 7th-generation Core i7 CPU gives the backpackpowerful quad-core processing power, and the NVIDIA QuadroP5200 GPU has twice the frame buffer of other 1080 class GPUs.(Image courtesy of HP.)

The HP Z VR Backpack has hot-swapping batteries, which means that you can continuously charge one battery while using the other. The battery lasts about 90 minutes, so you’re looking at around 5 changes every 8 hours.Intel’s 7th-generation Core i7 CPU gives the backpack powerful quad-core processing power, and the NVIDIA Quadro P5200 GPU has twice the frame buffer of other 1080 class GPUs. (Image courtesy of HP.)

Designing and producing a VR backpack to reduce this sensation has been the prerogative of hardware manufacturers like HP, which have a vested interest in the mobile VR space. With HTC Vive wireless headsets on the way from Intel, the need for mobile wireless VR backpacks may go the way of the dodo, or maybe not.HP has just released a Z backpack mobile VR workstation, so it doesn’t seem to think so.

Features

For room-scale VR experiences from a design visualization perspective, or to experience any 1:1 scale 3D model design, there’s no need to have multiple workstations if you are dedicated to creating VR content.

The computer clips onto a light wearable harness with a mounting plate that adds space between the user and the heat that is generated from the hardware.

In a sense, the HP Z VR Backpack may be a good fit for a designer’s process: you can dock the HP Z VR Backpack, work on it at your desk like you would normally do, then use it to power VR whenever you feel like taking a break and testing out your immersive content.

Since some of the HTC Vive wireless headset add-ons from companies like Intel are making their way into the market this year, we’ll have to wait and see how good they are before we exile the HP Z Backpack into the ever-growing pile of obsolete technology.

HP will be shipping the Z VR Backpack in September and it is expected to retail for USD 3,299.

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