Tuesday 2nd May saw the opening of the Virtual Reality Lab at Desk Lodge, Basing View and some great talks from VR experts at the launch event. Funded by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council the lab is connected to Basingstoke’s 5G Test-bed and is available for companies working on VR applications. Guests were treated to a live demonstration, of the capabilities the lab provides, by experts from the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre. By simply donning a VR headset they were virtually transported from Basingstoke to the University of Surrey’s, 5G Innovation Centre, it was as if they were actually there. The experience was made possible by a combination of technology that provided a live VR stream of a 3D camera at the 5GIC. It created a truly amazing experience and a tantalising glimpse of the future.
In his welcome address Keith Robson, COO of the 5GIC talked about the great strides made in developing a technology base in Basingstoke and the work to advance 5G technology ahead of commercial deployment. He then welcomed Jonathan Newth, CEO of FocalpointVR to deliver the Keynote speech, which shed light on the challenges of achieving “presence”, a convincing illusion, in VR. Resolution is a critical component of “presence” because the screens in VR headsets are close to eye. Jonathan highlighted two current issues with resolution, the headset display and the source material. In the next two or three years headset display resolution is expected to get there but, source material needs to be at 8k or even 12k for a realistic effect. Streaming video at this rate requires high bandwidth and low latency; something that existing mobile communications cannot deliver. Enter 5G, next generation communication that will really advance the VR experience
The second talk, given by Dr Chang Ge of the University of Surrey’s 5GIC, launched Basingstoke’s regular 5G networking event; Talk5G. The talk highlighted the effects of network latency when using the existing Transport Control Protocol (TCP). TCP is an industry standard networking protocol but Dr Ge demonstrated the dramatic effect it has on data throughput as latency increases. Even with a 1Gbit pipe, as latency increases above 100mS effective data throughput will only be a fraction of this. Reviewing the current techniques to deal with latency issues, such as pre-fetching, revealed that they are not effective at these latencies. Dr Ge then explained how his research into adaptive pre-fetching could overcome these issues. The effect on user experience was dramatically demonstrated when a streamed video both with and without adaptive pre-fetching were shown side by side
If these talks are anything to go by future Talk5G events will be a must for anyone interested in 5G technologies and where the future of mobile communications is heading. If you’re interested in attending future events you should sign-up at Meetup.com using the link below: