Motion controllers employ Nordic Bluetooth low energy solutions for immersive mobile virtual reality experience

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Guangzhou, China-based mobile virtual reality (VR) company, Ximmerse, has launched two solutions for the emerging mobile VR market, Ximflip, a three-degrees-of-freedom (3DoF) motion controller, and Ximneon, a six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) mobile VR kit with positional tracking. Ximflip employs Nordic’s multiple award-winning nRF51822 Bluetooth® low energy System-on-Chip (SoC), while Ximneon is powered by Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC.

Ximflip is compatible with most mobile VR headsets and once paired to the user’s smartphone, allows the user to complete a range of actions within smartphone-powered app-based VR games, such as pointing, selecting, grabbing, paddling, and throwing. Powered by two AAA batteries providing a battery life of approximately 40 hours and weighing only 45g, Ximflip has a 122 by 37 by 34mm form factor, and features accelerometer, gyroscope, and touchpad sensors.

The Nordic nRF51822 SoC—incorporating a 32-bit ARM® Cortex™ M0 CPU, 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio featuring -93 dB RX sensitivity, 256kB/128kB Flash memory and 32kB/16kB RAM—supports both the complex motion-tracking algorithms to ensure a drift-free, low-latency mobile VR experience, as well as interacting with the VR app via Bluetooth low energy wireless connectivity.

The Ximneon 6DoF mobile VR kit is an ‘outside-in’ solution. Weighing 120g and powered by two AAA batteries, the Ximneon motion controllers incorporate magnetometer, accelerometer, gyroscope, and touchpad sensors, and employ Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC. The SoC incorporates a 64MHz, 32-bit ARM Cortex M4F processor, 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio featuring -96dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM and supports the application’s demanding algorithms while ensuring low-latency Bluetooth low energy wireless connectivity to the user’s smartphone for interaction with the VR app.

Ximneon also features an external stereo camera to track the user’s movements within its line of sight and 120⁰ field of vision up to three meters via a VR headset-mounted LED marker. The camera tracks the LEDs on the headset marker to locate the user’s position in the 3D space, relaying the data back to the user’s smartphone via a home Wi-Fi network.

“Ximflip and Ximneon both heavily rely on the processing capability of the Nordic SoCs,” says Jingwen Dai, Ximmerse CTO. “In each case the nRF51822 SoC and nRF52832 SoC provide all the system computing requirements, capturing and processing sensor data and providing the Bluetooth low energy wireless connectivity to the user’s smartphone.”

Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth low energy SoC, a member of Nordic’s sixth generation of ultra low power (ULP) wireless connectivity solutions. When launched, the SoC was the world’s highest performance single-chip Bluetooth low energy solution, delivering up to 60 percent more generic processing power, offering 10 times the Floating Point performance and twice the DSP performance compared to competing solutions. The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 4.2 qualified RF software protocol stack for building advanced Bluetooth low energy applications. The S132 SoftDevice can operate concurrently in Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth low energy roles, and supports up to eight connections.