Don't want to end up with your head embedded inside a wall? Here's how to avoid tripping over the cords for your VR headset.
Still being in its early days, cabling is one of the biggest challenges that virtual reality faces. Between a headset's high-resolution display and one-to-one tracking, the bandwidth required isn't yet possible with wireless technology. In its current implementation, a majority of the most advanced consumer hardware is still tethered down to a high-end PC rig.
But how can you avoid face planting the floor again? Here are our top tips to avoid tripping over your headset's cables:
Clip yourself to the cable
To prevent yourself from tripping over headset's cabling, keeping it off the floor in some manner always helps. While there are a number of more expensive routes, clipping the cable to yourself will help prevent unnecessary tangling at your feet.
From our experience, clipping your headset's cable to your belt is an easy, yet effective way to keep it above the floor. By hooking a carabiner to your waist and feeding necessary cords through, this will prevent any unwanted tangling.
As pictured above, our own Russell Holly also 3D printed his own clip for the HTC Vive, which simply clips onto the player's belt.
Get a personal cable helper
Maybe one of the most effective — but also most obnoxious — methods of keeping your cabling out of harm's way is a personal cable caddy. As seen at a number of events, having a second person to manage your cabling is an easy way to avoid accidental trips.
This is a great way to introduce people to virtual reality and relieve players from the worry of an accidental fall. This isn't a practical implementation for everyday use, but works perfectly for showing friends and family a virtual reality setup.
Set up a dedicated railing system
For many, finding room for a high-end virtual reality setup can prove challenging – let alone dedicating a room to it. If your budget reaches it, however, some of the best experiences can be had with a dedicated wire railing system.
Yes - it's a little overkill, but has started to become more frequent in VR arcades across the world. With many of these arcades taking advantage of the HTC Vive's room-scale tracking abilities, the headset's bulky wiring is fed above the player across the ceiling. This railing then allows the player to freely move around a virtual space, with the tethering following behind.
Similar results can be achieved by running hooks along the ceiling of your room. By horizontally feeding the cable across the ceiling, clutter can be kept away from the floor.
Be aware of the cable
This might sound like a somewhat obvious solution, but being aware of the cable's position is one of the easiest ways to prevent falls. Over time you'll naturally learn to step over the cable, without affecting the quality of gameplay.
At times this can take away from the immersion, but reduces the need for any additional accessories. By doing this you're still likely to have a couple of close calls, but due to the nature of the platform, wires are an obstacle virtual reality will continue to struggle with in future. Until wireless displays are able to deliver the precise tracking and visuals desired by VR enthusiasts, the cable will still be a burden on high-end headsets.