AMD first announced the Sulon Q virtual/augmented reality headset back in March of 2016, and it got us really excited. Partnering with newcomer Sulon, the unit was allegedly capable of delivering high-quality VR and AR experiences contained within the headset itself.
The idea was simple but ambitious: pack a full fledged gaming PC right inside a virtual reality headset. This would allow the unit to work completely free of pesky tethered cables, and wouldn’t require a separate gaming PC in order to get to playing.
The proposed specs were as follows:
- Processors: AMD FX-8800P processor at up to 35W with Radeon R7 Graphics leveraging AMD’s Graphics Core Next architecture 4 compute cores and 8 GPU cores unlocked through Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) Sulon Spatial Processing Unit (SPU)
- Memory: 8 GB DDR3 Memory
- Storage: 256 GB SSD
- Display: 2560×1440 OLED display at 90 Hz 110-degree Field-of-View
- Audio: 3D spatial audio powered by GenAudio’s AstoundSound® technology Built-in 3.5 mm audio jack Custom spatially-optimized Sulon Q earbuds Dual noise-cancelling embedded microphones.
- Tracking: Sulon Spatial Processing Unit combining real-time machine vision technologies and mixed reality spatial computer for real-time environment mapping and tracking from the inside outward, dynamic virtualization for VR/AR fusion, and gesture recognition
- Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer, SPU
- Software: Microsoft Windows® 10 “Project Dragon” application for spatial computing AMD LiquidVR technologies for ensure smooth and responsive VR and AR experiences
- Peripherals: Wireless keyboard and mouse provided in box Any other Windows 10-compatible controllers and joysticks
- Connectivity: WiFi 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.1, 2x USB 3.0 Type A, Micro HDMI OUT
This all seemed pretty great. These specs all add up to a computer that is more than capable of delivering great VR experiences, and the headset was also able to track your space and overlay different content into the real world. Sulon and AMD wanted to be the first ones to guide the way to a new age of virtual reality where you could pay completely tether-less from your PC, and we were extremely excited by the prospect.
So what happened?
But what ever happened to the project? It seems like it was dead immediately after the announcement, and we still haven’t seen or heard anything new from the company for over a year. I reached out to the company about a month ago trying to inquire about any new developments, but they never got back to me. Their blog hasn’t been updated since the announcement either, so it’s hard to assume that they have continued working on it but are staying quiet.
That isn’t to say AMD is dropping VR technology: quite the opposite. Many of their new CPU and GPU developments have been incredibly VR focused, and its evident that the company thinks that the technology truly is the future. In fact, the company just purchased WiGig company Nitero in April of this year, which gives VR headsets a new way to be connected to gaming PCs wirelessly.
AMD says it doesn’t want to create VR headsets itself, but does want to provide the technologies that allow for other manufacturers to create these amazing experiences. Now that it creates CPUs, GPUs, and holds the patent to Nitero’s WiGig technology, they are essentially a one-stop-shop for anyone who wants to get into the technology.
Thankfully, tech marches on
While we’re a bit disappointed the Sulon Q still hasn’t come to fruition, HTC did just announce that it will start shipping wireless Vive headsets in early 2018, meaning you’ll be able to enjoy high-fidelity VR without any pesky cables — sure it’s not an all-in-one setup, but it’s a step in the right direction. It’s also worth noting that back at E3 of last year we had the chance to check out an Intel-derived prototype headset with a computer built in, making a lot like the Solun Q aimed for. In other words, even without Solun, it’s only a matter of time before a true all-in-one PC/VR headset comes to market.
Are you disappointed the Sulon Q never made it past an announcement? Still hoping for the company to pull something out of the bag? Let us know in the comments below.