Microsoft Flashback: VR for everyone, even for the poorest

Microsoft Flashback: VR for everyone, even for the poorest

Image 1: Microsoft Flashback: VR for everyone, even for the poorestThe revirtual bedridden, it may be great, but it still requires a very expensive configuration. The project Microsoft’s Flashback is to democratize VR by offering it to the least powerful smartphones and PCs on the market. How? ‘Or’ What ? Via a clever precalculation method, which makes the game much more fluid.

Thanks to Flashback technology, Microsoft would like to make virtual reality accessible to everyone. Because recent Oculus Rift and others HTC Vive all require an expensive hardware configuration (more than 1000 euros) to function properly. According to its developers, Flashback makes it possible to drastically reduce the needs necessary for the restitution of a scene in virtual reality. The technology would increase up to 8 times the frame rate, reduce energy consumption by 97x and 15x latency.

The method used is based on a system of precalculation : rather than calculating the images in real time, they are generated upstream. They remain compressed in RAM or on the SSD and are only decompressed on demand. For example, where a 4K texture requires 8 MB of space, its compressed version requires only 10 KB.

For the moment it is only a draft and technology still experiences some problems of restitution when it is necessary to manage a lot of objects. The video below, however, shows the effectiveness of this new approach. The sequence was filmed in a small configuration, using a simple HP Pavilion Mini and an Oculus Rift DK2.

Flashback technology in action.