HTC today announced a new Vive Tracker accessory which is the first in the industry to use inside-out tracking, meaning it doesn’t require any external beacons. The device can be attached to props to bring them into VR or to the user’s body for enhanced body tracking.
HTC’s existing Vive Trackers are a popular accessory for anyone interested in VR full-body tracking, but they use SteamVR Tracking technology which requires external beacons for use.
Now the company has announced a new Vive Tracker, and while it doesn’t yet have a name, HTC confirms it is their first standalone tracker based on inside-out tracking which uses on-board cameras to track its own position in space. That means no external beacons or cameras need to be set up for use.
HTC says that up to five of the new standalone Vive Trackers can be used at once, which could be used for body tracking in VR by attaching two trackers to the elbows, two to the feet, and one to the hips. Combined with the user’s head and hands (which are already tracked by the headset and controllers), the trackers can be used to represent the user’s movements more fully—which allows people to do some pretty incredible things in VR.
Details are slim right now; HTC hasn’t announced the price or battery life, and the release date is far off in Q3 2023. Though the company says the device will support standalone Vive headsets, PC VR, and a fully self-contained mode for those wanting to use the trackers for non-VR uses such as object tracking. The tracker is also based on OpenXR, and HTC says this will make it possible to use the tracker with other headsets from other vendors.
The base of the tracker has a quick-release system for removing it from its mount, as well as a standard camera tripod thread for connecting various standardized mounts and holders. The units are small too, with HTC saying they come in at just half the height of the latest Vive Tracker 3.0.
Developers interested in experimenting with the new tracker can contact HTC here to register their interest.
Although the device will support PC VR, HTC says it recommends that anyone already using SteamVR Tracking should stick with the existing Vive Tracker 3.0 for its precision and compatibility.
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While this is the first dedicated inside-out tracker to be release by a major VR vendor, the device is fundamentally similar to the Quest Pro and Magic Leap 2 controllers which also use on-board cameras to track their position.
Assuming HTC’s new inside-out tracker works well, the company may not be far off from releasing its own inside-out tracked controller.