HP has brought out a new super-efficient backpack computer in its PC slot. A product of the virtual reality computing wave, the backpack PC provides all the power needed to drive high-quality VR headsets like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but with a form factor that allows the user to roam about free. The new HP Z VR Backpack is a bit different from the rest of the field, though, since it’s designed specifically as a workstation.
The HP Z contains a Nvidia Quadro P5200 GPU, and it’s the first time the mobile workstation-class graphics card has been used in a VR backpack to date. The whole outfit weighs in at 10 lbs, and the GPU’s capabilities allow it to run complex simulations and of course power top-end VR experiences, all delivered with cordless performance thanks to a built-in battery.
The Z VR will be shipped in September, with a starting price of $3,299 and additional options available for additional cost. It’s also getting a companion dock that allows the user to use it more like a traditional desktop for those times when one doesn’t need to be roaming around immersed in virtual environments.
What’s So Good About?
All these hullaballoo sounds like an unnecessary waste, however, one of the most interesting potential use cases for VR is actually in engineering and design, where the ability to prototype virtually and make changes prior to creating full-scale physical models can save a lot of time and effort. Companies like Lucid, which is hoping to bring a Tesla Model S competitor to market, are already demonstrating how VR can help cut down on pre-production expense.
The Z VR would also be useful for job training, HP suggests, and for fields like telemedicine and even commercial VR experience centers. It’s probably still going to be quite a niche, but HP is clearly hoping that niche expands over time as VR becomes more prevalent across industries.