Chinese start-up Ximmerse plans to push virtual-reality applications to the masses by delivering a dedicated controller and sensors as accessories for smartphones and VR headsets.
With offices in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, Ximmerse makes VR motion scanners and joysticks, as well as a so-called “body posture detection system” to facilitate more complex motion control.
The accessories can work with VR kits from Google and Samsung Electronics.
“Current mobile VR devices only have good output functions. They need good input devices to really work well,” said Ximmerse founder and chief executive He Jie.
Google’s Cardboard and Samsung’s Gear VR headsets lack external controllers and sensors, which puts a limit on the user’s interaction in the virtual world.
More sophisticated input functions can be found in high-end VR headsets for desktops.
Ximmerse released versions of their products for software developers in December. Consumer kits are expected to be available in the third quarter of this year, with a retail price of around US$150 for a pair of sensors and a joystick.
The company claims it has developed a new algorithm that makes motion-sensing smoother. An algorithm is a set of rules that tell a computer how to perform certain tasks.
Mobile VR kits that rely on smartphones to provide a screen cost from US$10 to US$100, while desktop headsets cost upwards of US$600 and require a high-performance PC or games console to support their programmes.
The number of mobile VR users in mainland China is expected to exceed 1.3 million this year, according to iResearch. It forecast that number will double in 2017.