If You Build It, They Will Come: Multi-User VR Environment Showcased at GTC

Design guide now available for multi-user, location-based VR system.
by Victoria Rege

Whether you’re using it to play a game, hold a meeting or design a new building while out in the field, VR is pushing the limits of human experience.

An unfulfilled promise of VR has been a single system allowing multiple people to collaborate and interact with each other in a shared experience.

NVIDIA VR multi-user VR system
VR for four: NVIDIA’s multi-user VR system will be on display at GTC.

At the GPU Technology Conference this week, we’re showcasing a proof of concept, developed by NVIDIA engineers, that aims to do just that.

Using four NVIDIA Quadro P6000 GPUs running four virtual machines on a PC server, we were able to power four HTC Vive Business Edition headsets all from a single box. This four-way PC, combined with HTC’s Lighthouse tracking system, enables four people to use VR all sharing the same physical space.

Unlimited Possibilities

Multi-user systems open up opportunities to use VR in everything from amusement parks and arcades to military and first responder training, to manufacturing and design.

The setup minimizes the space, power and cooling required, making the system portable and quick to deploy. This is particularly advantageous for the growing market for location-based VR environments, the customized VR spaces popping up at cinemas, shopping malls and elsewhere.

The system’s compact size brings full-featured VR capabilities into tight or unconventional spaces, like naval ships and mobile command centers, where simulation training can add tremendous value.

Initially, the reason for developing this system was to figure out a way to support multi-user VR. However, other interesting use cases began to emerge, including a mixed-reality spectator view, where some virtual machines drive head-mounted displays for participants, while others drive virtual cameras for observers.

“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.”

See It at GTC

You can see this four-user VR system in action in the VR Village at GTC.

MonsterVR MonsterVR, a community-driven VR development studio, will demo the system with its multi-VR application for the architecture, engineering and construction industry in HTC’s booth 700.

And CAVRNUS, a VR company offering solutions for collaborative design, engineering, training and education, will show in-the-field training with multi-user VR in booth 934.

“When NVIDIA shared this system with us, we knew it would be an ideal solution for our collaborative VR platform for our most demanding users, ” said Anthony Duca, founder and CEO at CAVRNUS. “The feedback and reaction to the multi-user, virtualized system, particularly in the engineering and defense markets, has been tremendous.”

To learn more about how NVIDIA developed this system, join NVIDIA’s Kaye and Fred Devoir for their talk today at 10:30 am Pacific at GTC. (Watch the session replay, here.)

And for partners who are interested in learning how to build systems to support multi-user VR, request the design guide.

(Feature image courtesy of CAVRNUS.)