CES, as with most years, is the technology industry’s first major event. For 2017 virtual reality’s (VR’s) big names are in attendance showing off everything that made them great during 2016. Whilst we’re not expecting any major surprises for VR at CES 2017, that doesn’t mean there isn’t going to be any announcements at all. To prove that we’ve got two new pieces of HTC Vive hardware to look over, both of which are due to be released later in the year.
First up is the Vive Tracker, which as the name suggests opens the door for additional motion tracking for VR projects that are utilizing the HTC Vive head-mounted display (HMD). Only 85g in weight and just shy of 10cm in diameter, the Vive Tracker is future-proofed to be able to interface with VR accessories still to come for the system via a “simple connection”. It is hoped this ease of use will encourage further development by creators.
Vive’s General Manager for the US and EMEA Daniel O’Brien spoke on the company’s goals. “To foster the long-term growth of VR, we want to make it even easier for developers to prototype and market more immersive controllers and accessories. The
Vive Tracker is the first step in growing an ecosystem of third-party accessories that will change how we interact with virtual experiences and provide consumers and businesses with an unlimited amount of content opportunities.”
CES introduces a series of eight different demonstrations as to how the Tracker can be implemented and it is due to ship in Q2 of 2017. Pricing announced at a later date as will opportunities for developers to apply for one of 1,000 Vive Trackers that HTC will be giving away.
One developer who has already tried the Vive Tracker out is FLAIM trainer developer Dr James Mullins. “We were able to integrate the Vive Tracker into our fire fighting simulator within four hours,” He confirmed. “For us, the Vive Tracker eliminates both hard material costs to integrate tracking sensors, but also saves critical development time. Now, we can bring products with full motion control much more quickly to market.”
You can see images of the tracker below:
The second item is the Vive Deluxe Audio Strap which aims to provide users with a more comfortable and more encompassing audio experience within VR. Featuring adjustable fit through a sizing dial and integrated headphones. The Strap is also due out in Q2 and will be an item available to pre-order through the Vive.com website.
Speaking on the new hardware, O’Brien added. “We’ve continuously improved the core Vive experience, making it more comfortable and easier to use. The Deluxe Audio Strap evolves this mission further, offering a seamless audio solution that also fits more comfortably for Vive users.”
Screenshots are, again, available below, with a trailer for HTC’s increased hardware family below that.
VRFocus will bring you more information on these and other VR and AR developments from CES 2017 throughout the week.