Nvidia is currently showcasing various technologies at the GPU Technology Conference (600+ sessions, running from 8-11th May). It is blogging about various highlights from the conference, predominantly with an eye on deep learning and AI, but I noticed a particularly interesting VR development from Nvidia concerning Multi-User VR systems.
We have seen some good progress in VR system hardware and software over recent months but mostly it seems to be concerned with single user VR experiences. Nvidia is looking to widen the appeal of VR by creating a single system that allows “multiple people to collaborate and interact with each other in a shared experience”. At GTC it is showcasing a ‘proof of concept’ PC server packed with quite a bit of GPU horsepower.
Nvidia’s Multi-User VR system packs four NVIDIA Quadro P6000 GPUs running four virtual machines. As a reminder, the P6000 is based upon the GP102 silicon, just like the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti or Titan Xp. We aren’t told what other PC components are stuffed in this server but we could expect lashings of RAM and fast storage too.
For the VR hardware side of the equation Nvidia used four HTC Vive Business Edition headsets plus a single HTC Lighthouse tracking system for the four people to share the same physical space without issue.
Looking at the potential of such multi-user VR systems Nvidia reckons that there will be new opportunities for VR experience in “everything from amusement parks and arcades to military and first responder training, to manufacturing and design,” thanks to the shared experiences on offer. “The possibilities are endless,” said Tom Kaye, a senior solutions architect at Nvidia who helped develop the system. “With the addition of remote management and reliability features, such as multiple templates, clone on boot and remote rebuilds, we could see system builders working to create a robust, ready-to-deploy multi-user VR appliance.”
Developers MonsterVR and CAVRNUS are working on applications for Nvidia’s collaborative VR platform. The latter company suggests it will be a good fit for the engineering and defence markets. Hopefully the Nvidia YouTube channel will catch up with some of the developments and showcase events at GTC 2017 in the coming days.