Virtual reality is bound to be a part of the future of gaming, and Toronto-based Sulon Technologies is debuting their own take on this exciting space at GDC in San Francisco. Their Cortex gaming platform is a fully immersive gaming experience, that turns any physical space into essentially a holodeck, using a spatial scanner, a processing unit, and a visor mount that plugs into any smartphone to turn its screen into a stereoscopic display.
The company is launching pre-orders for its developer kit this morning, and plans to ship the first of its dev hardware beginning in the final quarter of this year. Its tech is unique when compared to something like the Oculus Rift, in that it incorporates AR and the player’s actual physical surroundings into the game, and in that it uses a person’s existing mobile devices to connect to the Cortex SPU (spatial processing unit) over Bluetooth, and to power the actual rendering of the visuals.
The whole setup is wireless, and it’s meant to encourage players to walk through their environment unencumbered. You can see an earlier version of the Sulon Cortex (then called the GVX) in action in the video below. Developers can use as much of, or as little of the real environment around them as they like, or just use a fully immersive virtual reality environment like you’ve seen from Oculus and others. The player wearing the Visor can change their perspective just by moving around in the real world, and full body orientation changes like kneeling, etc. are also translated to in-game experience.
Sulon Tech promises affordability thanks to its dependence on existing devices for a lot of the heavy lifting, which should also help with making it easy for developers to come on board. Currently, Sulon Technologies only offers support for Android devices, but it’s also going to be getting iOS device compatibility shortly, the company tells me.
They hybrid approach, and the tantalizing possibility of having a real, fully interactive holodeck make this an interesting take on the VR gaming concept. Sulon’s chances of appealing to the consumer market will depend heavily on its ability to work this into a refined, hiccup-free experience that comes in a sleek package and offers a significant launch library of titles to explore, so expect it to remain heads down on the beta testing and development phase for at least a while yet before it comes to any store shelves.