Microsoft FlashBack system looks to bring high-quality VR to lower-end phones
FlashBack is all about making trade-offs designed to side-step the limited computational power of mobile devices. Specifically, it lowers graphics-processing requirements at the expense of storage.
What that means is that FlashBack tries to pre-render as much of a scene as it can in advance, considering all the ways a user might attempt to view a virtual space and generating those 3D viewpoints. When a user later attempts to interact with this VR scene, viewing software can quickly call upon this pre-render cache, improving rendering speed up to eight times and reducing latency an impressive 15 times – and that figure's key to realistic VR.
Admittedly, FlashBack isn't without its problems – the biggest of which being that this pre-render routine places some big limits on just how interactive a virtual world can be. But while it's not a perfect solution, we're curious to see for ourselves just how well it might be able to extend the VR lifespan of our existing mobile hardware.
source: Microsoft Research (PDF) via SlashGear