Today at CES 2017 HTC announced the Vive Tracker, a standalone tracking module that’s designed to attach to anything to become tracked in the virtual world.
We heard at least as far back as the reveal of the HTC Vive headset back in 2015 that we might one day see a standalone ‘puck’ tracker using the tracking tech, and now it’s finally real. The Vive Tracker is a compact standalone tracking device made to bring real objects and third-party accessories into virtual reality.
The Vive Tracker uses the same SteamVR Tracking technology that’s found on the Vive headset and controllers and is promised to have the same accuracy. The Tracker has an integrated battery, a microUSB port, and what appears to be a standard camera-type mounting screw. Like the Vive headset and Controllers, the Tracker has its own wireless connection to the computer. Thanks to the microUSB port, third-parties can send data about their accessories to the host computer, which means that button clicks, trigger pulls, and other events can be used without requiring a separate connection to the computer. With more than 20 tracking points on the device, the unit is designed to fit a wide range of uses while remaining compact.
At the accessory’s reveal today, HTC showed how it could be integrated into a wide range of third-party products. We saw everything from bats to guns to gloves and even a firehose simulator from partners who worked with HTC to make their accessories work with the Tracker.
The Vive Tracker has not yet been priced, but given the similarity to the Vive controllers, we guess the Tracker will be priced around the same $130 mark. The Vive Tracker release date is in Q2 2017.