CES 2017 – HTC Debuted Vive Tracker and Deluxe Audio Strap

HTC announced Vive Tracker and Deluxe Audio Strap at CES 2017. Vive Tracker will allow any physical device to be tracked. Some developers already have some ingenious ideas how Vive Tracker can be used to transform VR from an already awesome experience into something even more immersive. HTC had multiple Vive Tracker demos available, here’s our experience.

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Vive Tracker is relatively small (99.65mm diameter x 42.27mm height) which translates to about the size of a fist. It is lightweight at under 3 ounces, but ThinkComputers’ own, Derrick Ubbink said you can definitely feel the weight of Vive Tracker when it is on your wrists.

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Although when it is placed in say a life-sized gun, the weight you feel is the gun and Vive Tracker is negligible. So how well does Vive Tracker work? Really well. Derrick played a demo where he could pick items up with his fingers in VR and continue to manipulate them. It was mainly a physics demo where dropping a wooden dowel on some dominos would make them cascade into each other. And he was also able to pinch his fingers with his right hand and use it like a virtual pencil, drawing freely in virtual space. The thickness of the line he drew was changeable by how open his opposite hand was, which is a really creative way to quickly change the size of a line being drawn.

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Next we both tried a sniper demo. This demo required us to put on a backpack for feedback and hold what we both agree is about a 10-15lbs gun with Vive Tracker built-into the top of it. Even though we were in VR, the gun was tracked accurately and represented near perfectly in VR. It was super easy to pick it up, hop into the game and start sniping robots with almost zero learning curve. Vive Tracker will ship in Q2 2017 with pricing announced closer to launch.

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HTC also unveiled Deluxe Audio Strap. This new headstrap for Vive has a redesigned front clip and built in headphones similar to Oculus Rift. There is also a dial on the back of the headstrap, making it easier to adjust than Vive’s current velcro strap. Deluxe Audio Strap is expected to launch in Q2 2017 with pricing announced at a later date.

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