VirtualLink USB-C spec for VR headset laid down by Nvidia, Oculus, Valve, AMD, and Microsoft

Virtual reality headset could soon be connected with a single cable thanks to USB-C.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

A quintet of industry heavyweights have teamed up for a new standard for virtual reality headsets dubbed VirtualLink.

Under the specifications put out by the consortium, the USB-C Alternate Mode standard will support a quartet of High Bit Rate 3 (HBR3) Displayport lanes, USB3.1 Gen 2 SuperSpeed for cameras and sensors, as well as carrying up to 27 Watts of power.

"The current setup process limits VR to PCs that can support multiple connectors. A single-connector solution brings immersive VR to small-form-factor devices that can accommodate a single USB Type-C connector," the group said. "These include thin and light notebooks and various other small-form-factor devices."

The consortium is led by Nvidia, Oculus, Valve, AMD, and Microsoft, all of which are involved in VR to varying degrees.

Other details on the standard are scant, with those interested in viewing an overview of it needing to register though the VirtualLink site.

A recent study by IDG said worldwide spending on AR and VR products and services will reach $27 billion in 2018.

In March, Microsoft showed off its Power BI app with HoloLens as the company pushes into business uses of VR. An April study pinned the number of augmented reality smart glasses sold in 2017 as a mere 24,000.

Redmond recently launched an $80 USB-C dongle for its Surface devices.

As for the Facebook-owned Oculus, the company launched the self-contained Oculus Go in May for $200 -- the device has a battery life of two hours, though.

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(Image: VirtualLink)
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