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HTC Vive Tracker is a device designed to achieve a new level of motion integration in VR. Find out how it works.
HTC Vive Trackers are a new way to build bridges between VR and the real world. Introduced in 2017, this device has become one of the most promising technologies in virtual reality.
Vive Tracker is a device designed to achieve a new level of motion integration in VR. Here is what is known about this technology at the moment:
What is HTC Vive Tracker?
Vive Tracker is one of the latest accessories for HTC Vive, which aims to create real objects in the virtual world. This simple yet odd-looking device is designed to easily attach to physical objects, displaying their movement to simulate VR experiences.
The 6-pin connector on the bottom of the device connects directly to any Vive Tracker components. Since the device is already in the hands of developers, various products that will use the technology are already under development.
How does HTC Vive Tracker work?
Based on the same technology as the HTC Vive and its controllers, the Vive Tracker calculates its position in a room based on the infrared signals emitted by the base stations. Where these signals are received is tracked through an array of sensors on the device and translated into an equivalent position in the game.
Data from the HTC Vive controller can also be transferred using the Vive Tracker, allowing the controllers to connect to any compatible accessories. All actions, from simple button presses, trackpad movements, all the way to voice commands, can be sent or received back to the Tracker, which will translate them for use in the desired accessory. This allows the Vive Tracker accessories to act as a replacement for the HTC Vive controller if the game has features that are not available with the standard HTC joystick. When using the Vive Tracker, a 270-degree field of coverage must be considered to avoid blocking incoming signals.
What are the features of Vive Tracker?
Thanks to the recently released developer guide for the Vive Tracker, you can take a closer look at the technical specifications of the device. Each of its functions is explained and an idea of how the device can be used is given. Here is a description of the Vive Tracker’s hardware features as per the image below taken from the developer’s guidelines.
- LED indicator: As with the HTC Vive controllers, an LED indicator is used to show the current status of the device. It indicates which of the various states the device is in, such as charging, low battery, or pairing.
- Power button: Hidden in the Vive logo on the top of the device, the power button is used to turn the device on and off and put it into pairing mode.
- Sensors: As with existing HTC Vive headsets and controllers, these sensors are used to receive the signals emitted by the base stations.
- Mounting: As shown in the diagram, the Vive Tracker mounts to accessories via a standard 1/4″ camera connector (such as on camera tripods and existing HTC Vive base stations). It is fixed with a pin to prevent the device from falling out when mounted on an accessory. To transmit information about the actions on the controller, the device must be connected through the connector – Pogo, located next to the mount.
- Micro-USB: Like the HTC Vive controllers, there is a Micro-USB port on the charger.
All Vive Tracker data will be transferred wirelessly to a USB 2.0 box connected to your PC. Unlike existing HTC Vive controllers, where all data is transferred through the headset, Vive Tracker will work independently. However, for a more stable signal, the Vive Tracker can be connected via the spare HTC Vive USB port on the headset.
What kind of experience can Vive Tracker give?
The main goal is to feel more immersed in VR, so Trackers will be used in one of two ways:
Armory Extension: The Tracker connects to the object you’re holding, whether it’s a gun, a sword, or whatever you want to port into VR.
More Tracking: A tracker attaches to your body, giving an app or game more data about the movement of your body parts. You can also use Tracker as a way to completely replace controllers, allowing you to move around more freely.