GDC 2016: AMD-powered Sulon Q VR headset is a wireless Oculus Rift rival


AMD is getting into the virtual reality (VR) game in a big way with the announcement of Sulon Q, a spatially aware headset that blends the immersion of VR with the real-world functionality of augmented reality (AR). AMD claims the result is a view of the world that doesn’t take away from reality, but rather enhances it.

What’s more, unlike most VR devices, the Sulon Q comes equipped with integrated computer components, including an AMD FX-8800P processor with Radeon R7 graphics. Complete with 8GB of memory and even a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD), the computing parts are bundled up into a portable hard drive-sized box attached to the rear of the device.

AMD Sulon QR

In essence, when you’re wearing the Sulon Q, you’ll have the headset sitting on the bridge of your nose and a full-on computer (built with laptop-sized components) strapped to the back of your skull.

AMD also claims that the headset, made in collaboration with a startup named Sulon Technologies, is the first to offer a completely untethered experience, beating the very similar (but less clunky looking) Microsoft HoloLens to market.

AMD Sulon QR

Speaking of which, the Sulon Q has Windows 10 pre-installed, and allows any app within the operating system to broadcast itself within a mixed-reality environment. We’ll see exactly how that works soon enough, as Sulon has yet to show it off.

As a headset alone, the Sulon Q comes equipped with an two OLED displays with a shared resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 resolution. This puts it above the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive‘s 2,160 x 1,200 resolution. The dual displays also refresh at a rate 90Hz and offer a 110-degree field of view (FOV).

An AMD representative tells us that the Sulon Q will be handed to developers as an easy option to expand the exposure of their VR experiences. That’s because AMD’s processor architecture is within every major gaming console and about 3 million PCs, making for easier porting.

AMD has yet to announce pricing or availability for the Sulon Q other than a mid-year release target, but stay tuned for our hands-on review of the AR-meets-VR headset from GDC 2016.