The market for virtual reality systems has some polarity at the moment. You can either spend hundreds on powerful devices like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive or settle for cheaper alternatives like Google Cardboard and the Samsung Gear VR. They all deliver a genuine VR experience but they don’t all work with the same content. The cheap headsets use a smartphone and aren’t powerful enough to run the latest and greatest games and tech demos designed for the pricey PC-powered headsets. A new app from RiftCat looks to bridge that gap.
VRidge is a PC and smartphone app combo that takes VR content that requires the powerful headsets and makes it compatible with the cheaper options. Smartphones aren’t powerful enough to run the VR experiences designed for the Oculus Rift but they do have the necessary tech for sensing head movements and streaming video output from a PC. VRidge gives your smartphone the responsibility of dealing with motion-tracking but runs the VR content itself from your PC. The stereoscopic output is streamed to the mobile app so you can wear the phone in a headset like Google Cardboard.
This video shows the setup and a demo in action:
So far the system works with Oculus Rift and SteamVR-compatible titles but it’s still quite early in development so there are bugs to iron out. It’s in beta so you can sign up to use the app for free and help improve it. It’s certainly an interesting solution for VR fans on a budget.
Main image: Nan Palmero, distributed under a CC-BY-2.0 license