AMD has announced the acquisition of intellectual property relating to virtual reality (VR) technology from Nitero, a company behind the development of wireless VR and augmented reality headsets.
The announcement comes as the company is preparing to launch a slew of new graphics cards based upon its new Vega architecture, manufactured on the 14nm FinFET process. VR capabilities are a key selling point of next-generation GPUs and graphics cards, with AMD bidding to catch-up with the lead established by rival Nvidia over the past year with its 10-series GPUs.
The Nitero technology acquisition by AMD will therefore enable the company to take a different tack.
"Unwieldly headset cables remain a significant barrier to drive widespread adoption of virtual reality," said Mark Papermaster, AMD chief technology officer and senior vice president.
He continued: "Our newly acquired wireless VR technology is focused on solving this challenge, and is another example of AMD making long-term technology investments to develop high-performance computing and graphics technologies that can create more immersive computing experiences."
Nitero claims to have designed what it describes as a "phased-array beam-forming millimetre wave chip" to address the challenges facing wireless VR and AR.
Using high-performance 60GHz wireless, the technology has the potential to enable PCs to transmit multi-gigabit streams to headsets with low latency in room-scale VR environments.
The beam-forming characteristics solve the requirement for line-of-sight associated with traditional high-frequency millimetre-wave systems, potentially eliminating wired VR headsets and enabling users to become more easily immersed in virtual and augmented worlds.
"Our world-class engineering team has been focused on solving the difficult problem of building wireless VR technologies that can be integrated into next-generation headsets," said Nitero co-founder and CEO Pat Kelly, who has joined AMD as corporate vice president in charge of wireless IP.
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