VR Digest: Vive Tracker revealed

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VR Digest: A VR newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent
written by Ian Hamilton (@hmltn) issue 102 – January 11, 2017

VR Digest: A Virtual Reality newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent

Hi Friends,

Ian and Bowdy had a great time at CES and we gathered a ton of new info about the state of consumer VR in the first half of 2017. Some very exciting developments are brewing with the upcoming launch of Windows Holographic and a tracked-object ecosystem coming to the Vive, which is gaining better ergonomics and wireless capabilities even without a new headset on the immediate horizon. We can’t wait to take advantage of this new technology with you!

Aaron, John, Ian, Bowdy, and Elissa
at Studio Transcendent

Vive Tracker Revealed

A hockey puck sized accessory from HTC called the Vive Tracker will be available in Q2. The device is said to have six hours of battery life and can be attached to a host of forthcoming accessories for the HTC Vive headset. At CES the accessory was shown attached to a fire hose, gloves, a baseball bat and two different types of guns. For precise movement tracking, the Vive Tracker uses the same SteamVR technology from Valve as HTC’s VR headset and controllers. So, the same base stations installed in the homes of Vive owners will be able to see the movement of the Vive Tracker and its attached objects. HTC said that at least 1,000 would be given out to developers for free.

HTC is also planning an accessory for the Vive featuring an improved strap with integrated audio, much like the Oculus Rift. Tested has a 9-minute video looking at both accessories.

HTC announced wider availability for its TPCast add-on that allows the Vive to run wirelessly for two hours at a time. It will be available worldwide in Q2 for $249.

Finally, HTC announced a subscription service through its VivePort software portal that will allow users to download content on an all-you-can-eat basis for a monthly fee. The service is focusing on non-gaming content. VivePort will also expand to support licensed content for Arcade operators and apps for professional use.

Companies Use VR to Sell Their Products at CES

VR had a presence at CES beyond directly-related products. FLIR had a VR simulator to show the world in infrared, Denso used VR to demonstrate their Vehicle-to-Vehicle and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure communication technology, and Volkswagen used the tech to demonstrate concepts for future car infotainment systems.


The trial between Oculus and Zenimax began this week in Dallas, Texas, with Facebook issuing a statement: “Oculus and its founders have invested a wealth of time and money in VR because we believe it can fundamentally transform the way people interact and communicate. We’re disappointed that another company is using wasteful litigation to attempt to take credit for technology that it did not have the vision, expertise, or patience to build.”

Owlchemy Labs said its VR launch game Job Simulator passed $3 million in sales, making it one of VR’s best-selling titles.

Samsung said it sold 5 million Gear VRs so far, providing the most concrete figure to date for the high-quality mobile VR install base.

Intel and Hype VR showed off their ‘volumetric video’ technology that allows users to lean around within a captured video scene. The demo setup was the most impressive at CES, as Intel provided over 260 gaming laptop and Oculus Rift stations for the assembled press and synchronized them so that everyone could look at the content in VR simultaneously.

Asus provided official details about its new ZenFone AR Daydream/Tango device, which sports 8GB of RAM on its spec sheet (the most ever put in a phone). Here’s a hands-on from Android Authority.

Windows Central collected photos of all the Windows Holographic headsets displayed at CES. None were actually working. Acer, Dell, HP and Lenovo wisely copied Sony’s PSVR industrial design while 3Glasses took its inspiration from Oculus.

Two new 3D 360 cameras designed to make life easy for content creators are set to debut in Q1 2017. The Vuze, which was made available for preorder last year and subsequently delayed will ship March 7. Meanwhile the Hubblo camera intends to ship in Q1 but hasn’t started crowdfunding yet, making the launch window extremely ambitious.

RoadToVR has a through-the-glasses shot of the Lumus waveguide display showing a relatively impressive 55-degree field of view (the technology is not conducive to wide field of view but allows for extremely thin displays that can fit in an eyeglasses style form factor). They also caught up with Kopin, which was showing a 1-inch-diagonal display with a 2Kx2K resolution along with optics suitable for glasses-thin VR goggles with a 90-degree FOV.

UploadVR reported that Kopin and Lenovo have joined forces to work on AR headsets.

VR Digest™ is a Virtual Reality Newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent, a producer of premium Virtual Reality experiences. We publish weekly on Wednesdays.

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