Imagination finds VR customer for ray tracing

June 29, 2016 // By Peter Clarke
Graphics processor licensor Imagination Technologies Group plc and China's Shenzhen Virtual Reality Technology Co. Ltd., which uses the 3Glasses brand name, are collaborating on the use of ray-traced graphics in consumer virtual reality devices.

Imagination, which is a pioneer of licensing GPUs, incorporated ray tracing as an option into its PowerVR tile-based graphics architecture in May 2014 to create the PowerVR Wizard variant. The ray-tracing technology came from Imagination's acquisition of Caustic Graphics Inc. for $27 million in 2010. Caustic was developing a hardware accelerator that it claimed could lower the cost of ray tracing and merge lighting models with polygon-based graphics rendering.

Ray tracing – which calculates the paths of light through a scene to the point of view – can generate dynamic lighting models that enable dynamic soft shadows and life-like reflections and transparencies. However, it is computationally intensive and up until now has been used predominantly for non-realtime engineering applications and computer generated imagery in feature films.

"Earlier this year we demonstrated that our PowerVR Wizard GR6500 ray tracing GPU can achieve up to 50 times the efficiency of a desktop GPU in a ray tracing scene," said Volker Politz, vice president for segment marketing at Imagination, in a statement. "This technology presents an opportunity for VR companies to provide clear differentiation in their future devices."

Shenzhen Virtual Reality Technology has 10 years of experience providing wearable, virtual and augmented reality equipment in Greater China and has built over 200 different VR/AR case models.

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