After months of creative developers building cool virtual reality devices that relied on HTC Vive controllers duck taped to them, HTC has introduced a cool peripheral called the Vive Tracker to allow objects to be tracked in VR.
Right now companies are free to license the SteamVR technology and implement the very cool tracking tech into their peripherals, but hardware developers need to learn best practices about the tech and its overall not as easy as many developers would like.
With the Vive tracker, HTC has created a licensed SteamVR accessory with the same tracking smarts as the Vive controllers that can be attached to any device, allowing that device to be tracked in VR.
To kickstart companies building cool stuff with the trackers, HTC is looking to give away up to 1,000 of the devices to developers.
At CES I had a chance to test out one of the devices on a first-person shooter title where the tracker was mounted onto the front of a plastic assault rifle controller and was able to see the gun 1:1 replicated in the game as I was holding. There’s always the danger that tech like this can become too gimmicky like with the plastic tennis rackets and golf clubs people were sticking wiimotes into after Wii Sports and the Nintendo Wii were released but the Vive Tracker is a solution that really needed to come about and it’s great that HTC introduced it at CES.
The Vive Tracker weighs just under three ounces and is a bit smaller than the sensor ring on a normal Vive controller. It’s battery lasts around 6 hours and connects to devices via USB. The product will ship sometime in Q2 and HTC is going to keep us guessing on how much exactly it costs.