LYRobotix NOLO Brings PC Control To Mobile VR

January 6, 2017 - Written By Daniel Fuller

Using a Bluetooth controller with a Cardboard headset and PPSSPP or using VRidgeand SteamVR are both awesome, but the lack of truly immersive, PC-style controls is a problem that most VR gamers agree somebody should solve, and LYRobotix wants to be the one to solve it. The firm recently trotted out a brand new VR control solution called Nolo. To put it short and sweet, Nolo uses four separate pieces to essentially give almost any mobile VR setup the controls of a more sophisticated rig; a base station to track everything going on, a head-mounted motion sensor, and two motion-sensitive wand controllers. While phone displays are getting more sophisticated and wireless technology is getting faster and dropping milliseconds off of latency scores each year, control remains a major roadblock to getting truly immersive VR experiences on a mobile platform. Google is addressing this with Daydream, but LYRobotix’s solution is more universal, and doesn’t require a recent phone.

The head-mounted motion sensor looks somewhat like a small antenna with a ball on the end, and can latch on to most Cardboard and Daydream compliant headsets, as well as Samsung’s Gear VR. This part of the rig holds enough sensors to provide realistic body and head motion in games, including bending down toward the ground or putting your face near an object to examine it. The motion controllers, meanwhile, each feature a touchpad, a trigger button, and a few other buttons that can be used for gameplay. While it may not be the best solution for more complicated games, it will work quite well with most VR fare.

NOLO’s base station boasts a total positioning range of 13 by 13 feet; not quite room scale, but certainly adequate for most things. The unit’s battery can keep the gaming going for around 7 hours, which is quite likely longer than your phone can keep up, if you’re not using an independent headset. As a caveat, the head-mounted headset marker has to be tethered to the host PC via a USB cable, and can’t be used with native mobile VR games right out of the box, though a USB on the go adapter and some technical knowledge could help with that. NOLO should ship out around June of 2017, with a preorder price of $89 and a final retail price of $99.