Microsoft’s FlashBack brings high-quality VR to low-end smartphones

By: Costea Lestoc
2 minute read

The developers from Microsoft Research are currently working on a new, awesome project titled FLASHBACK, a technology that will bring high-quality virtual reality to low-end smartphones. 

Instead of computing each frame in real-time when exploring a virtual reality environment, something that requires a powerful graphics card, the new technology will display pre-rendered frames from a cache that will include all possible images and positions.

In order words, this will move the load from the CPU and GPU to storage, compressing data and making the volume manageable. It will be able to store an 8MB of 4K texture with only 100 KB of RAM, which is awesome for the owners of low-end smartphones.

According to Microsoft, FlashBack will provide 8x better frame rate and it will consume 97x less energy. FlashBack will not work only for static scenes as you will be able to use it for dynamic scenes with moving and animated objects. Here is a video demonstrating how FlashBack functions:

FlashBack is still quite new and it will not be released sometime in the near future. However, it would be nice if Microsoft eventually introduced its own VR headset. While it has its Hololens headset, it’s designed for augmented reality and we are pretty sure that the company will want to release its own VR solution in the future.

What are your thoughts about the FlashBack technology? Will you use it on your low-end smartphone once it is released?


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