HTC today announced a new Vive Tracker accessory which is the first in the industry to use inside-out tracking, meaning it doesn’t require any external beacons. The device can be attached to props to bring them into VR or to the user’s body for enhanced body tracking.

HTC’s existing Vive Trackers are a popular accessory for anyone interested in VR full-body tracking, but they use SteamVR Tracking technology which requires external beacons for use.

Now the company has announced a new Vive Tracker, and while it doesn’t yet have a name, HTC confirms it is their first standalone tracker based on inside-out tracking which uses on-board cameras to track its own position in space. That means no external beacons or cameras need to be set up for use.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nMBmQtE-DA

HTC says that up to five of the new standalone Vive Trackers can be used at once, which could be used for body tracking in VR by attaching two trackers to the elbows, two to the feet, and one to the hips. Combined with the user’s head and hands (which are already tracked by the headset and controllers), the trackers can be used to represent the user’s movements more fully—which allows people to do some pretty incredible things in VR.

Details are slim right now; HTC hasn’t announced the price or battery life, and the release date is far off in Q3 2023. Though the company says the device will support standalone Vive headsets, PC VR, and a fully self-contained mode for those wanting to use the trackers for non-VR uses such as object tracking. The tracker is also based on OpenXR, and HTC says this will make it possible to use the tracker with other headsets from other vendors.

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The base of the tracker has a quick-release system for removing it from its mount, as well as a standard camera tripod thread for connecting various standardized mounts and holders. The units are small too, with HTC saying they come in at just half the height of the latest Vive Tracker 3.0.

Developers interested in experimenting with the new tracker can contact HTC here to register their interest.

Although the device will support PC VR, HTC says it recommends that anyone already using SteamVR Tracking should stick with the existing Vive Tracker 3.0 for its precision and compatibility.

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While this is the first dedicated inside-out tracker to be release by a major VR vendor, the device is fundamentally similar to the Quest Pro and Magic Leap 2 controllers which also use on-board cameras to track their position.

Assuming HTC’s new inside-out tracker works well, the company may not be far off from releasing its own inside-out tracked controller.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • XRC

    And so it starts…

    • Cless

      So “what” starts? This is nothing new.

      On top of that, do you trust HTC to do anything properly at all?

      These things have two good cameras and a CPU for tracking, they aren’t going to be cheaper than the already existing Vive Trackers, so what is changing here?

      • kraeuterbutter

        its for the ones who start new,

        so are not in the need for 300Euro Basestations, which sometimes are noisy (mine – gen 1 – are not)
        and need to be screwed to the wall (some dont like to in there living-room)

        • Cless

          Oh, if its that its fine. It just sounded way more ominous in my head for some reason.
          In any case, there has been other 3rd party accessories for some time now. Maybe none as good as base stations, but good enough for sure.

          • MosBen

            As someone who hasn’t owned a Vive or Index, I don’t have base stations and the cost and hassle of getting into them now is a pretty big barrier. So something like this seems pretty interesting to me.

          • Cless

            The cost of these, even if we don’t know its quite obviously going to be higher, plus its going to be way more fragile as well for something you are going to spend most of its life flailing around..
            Battery might be something to look up upon as well, we’ll see how long they last too.
            And really, the hassle is MASSIVELY exaggerated. I’ve moved them literally taken them around the world multiple times and its been perfectly fine.

          • MosBen

            I don’t think that we can say definitively that these will be more fragile than the existing trackers. They might, they might not.

            The new trackers might be more expensive than the old trackers, but will they be more expensive than the old trackers plus base stations? I don’t think that we can say. The hassle might be something that you’re willing to do, but it’s not something that I’m willing to do. The point is not that it’s super difficult, but that the need to purchase base stations, which may not be necessary for the HMD if you’re using one with inside out tracking, is a barrier to adoption that likely keeps some people from using trackers. We’ll need to wait and see how much the new trackers cost, but not needing to invest in and set up trackers is at least enough to say that they’re interesting.

          • Cless

            Dude, its 2 cameras and a CPU vs a dumb puck with some IR sensors, I think we can make an educated guess and say one is more fragile than the other.

            Maybe about as expensive as 3 trackers and 2 base stations… except if one breaks the cost of replacing it is also higher, and having more than 3 is also then more expensive.

            I mean… there are already 3rd party solutions that are almost as good as trackers, cheaper, and that don’t need base stations. Maybe not AS precise as base stations, but definitely good enough for like… 90% of the people who would want them. So again, its not that interesting what they’re doing here :/

        • ViRGiN

          Start what?
          This isn’t even a product for consumers. Nobody will be supporting these just like the standard tracker. Anyone within vrchat weeb community will go hardcore nuts defending base station as the better solution anyway.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        No need for lighthouse basestations? which are getting harder to come by. I do think these trackers will be more expensive as the current vive trackers as it requires more expensive camera’s and CPU to process the data.

        • Cless

          I mean, it has its advantages, but it has a lot of disadvantages as well. Also, I don’t expect them to be cheaper than 3 trackers + base stations when put together, each will probably be minimum 200€ :/

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Yeah, I also have a feeling they will be well north of 200 euro’s, but time will tell.

  • ViRGiN

    Still calling it “body tracking” yet no body tracking SDK exist?

    • Cless

      I’m more worried about people thinking this is somehow going to be cheaper than the old trackers…

      • ViRGiN

        That also. Another stupid thing is now you’re going basestation-less, yet still have to wire all trackers to a hub or something. Absolute must-have for vrchat freaks.

      • sfmike

        It’s a Vive product so no question of it being overpriced exists. We’ll have to wait for the knockoffs to bring the price down.

        • Cless

          Yeah man, if it were cheap, or even cheaper than v3.0 trackers (around the cost of the other competitors that are ~450$), it would be absolutely amazing, no doubts. But… its HTC, specs look good… I think its fair to speculate its going to be quite pricy.

    • GColman

      Well using a good ik system is the biggest part. And then sync the ik handles with the tracker positions. Things like Unity and Unreal have ik systems integrated into it, so not much reason to have a body tracking sdk.

  • Lulu Vi Britannia

    Way too late, and you know it’s going to be way too expensive. I bet getting the Lighthouses with current Vive trackers would be cheaper than these new self-tracking trackers.

    There now exists cheap solutions for body tracking (SlimeVR, HaritoraX are really good and allow for multiple sensors for the price of 2 Vive trackers…), people should check this out.

    But hey, at least it’s a good idea. Shame that they got that idea from their direct competitor. It’s like “Hey, look, Oculus now have self-tracking controllers! Let’s do the same!” As usual with HTC.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Good luck getting lighthouse basestations as they are very sparse at the moment and I really wonder if they will be produced any longer.

      • Gus

        what? Base stations have been in stock for almost a whole year in Steam’s store. There is no shortage anymore…

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Well, HTC just had a newsitem that they were finally available again, but in limited quantities. And you can bet your ass that valve and htc are using the same batch. So when this batch is out, I’ll doubt they will produce some more.

          • Gus

            Lol where are you getting your information from?? The entire time they have been in stock you’ve been able to buy up to 5 base stations per purchase, as many times as you need to. You seem so bias in this matter. Almost as if someone was paying you to spread this horse Sh*t. Stop going around spreading misinformation!

      • XRC

        HTC have recently been granted license by Valve corp to manufacture 2.0 base station in Taiwan. Unknown if Valve are to stop making them, some speculation move away from lighthouse tracking technology?

        Should improve 2.0 availability due to HTC manufacturing higher capacity compared to that micro manufacturing facility that flex operate for valve in buffalo grove Illinois

        • ViRGiN

          lmao, valve moving away from lighthouses?
          so much for “just” upgrading a headset hahahaha.
          lighthouse was relevant for the first 9 months of PCVR. been obsolete ever since.

      • Lulu Vi Britannia

        There will always be people selling their own for personal reasons.

      • Midnight Rain

        Sparse? wtf is sparse?

        • Andrew Jakobs

          sparse
          adjective,spars·er, spars·est.
          1.thinly scattered or distributed:
          a sparse population.
          2.not thick or dense; thin:
          sparse hair.

  • Hospital IMO Instituto Mineiro

    The main problem still … it´s useless ….

  • ViRGiN

    nobody cares about vrchat. no human beings ever use it.

    • Alexander Sears

      u brighten my day with your potentially inflammatory comments

    • olliewinks

      i checked just now on steam charts and there was 18,021 players in vrchat 22 mins ago. and thats not including oculus players. wdym “noone uses it”

      • ViRGiN

        I’m talking about humans, not weebs or furries.
        All people are actually on horizon.

        • Karma

          Impressive. How could every part of all your statements be so wrong?

          • ViRGiN

            If you’re coming to such an old news page, then you are all of the above.

          • Midnight Rain

            you’re on here dumb

    • Midnight Rain

      I’m going to throw a brick at you.

      • ViRGiN

        what does your avatar look like?

  • anyone else use Safari to view this site? this week I’ve noticed I cannot see the comment section at all in a normal browser, but I can in a ‘private’ browser. No add-blocking enabled in either instance.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      I usually do. The whole comment section shows as a flat list of texts without any format or way to respond/vote or do anything. This is not the first time that RoadToVR changes something that makes the site unusable in Safari, so far they fixed it within a few days. There are a couple of other sites that don’t work for me in Safari at all or only partly and most are never fixed, but RoadToVR are special in that they mess it up regularly, then fix it later, hinting that they do not properly tests their changes before rolling them out.

  • GColman

    Would perfer them to have more than 5. For true full body tracking, we need feet, knees, belt, chest, and elbows. The controls can do the hands, and headset the face, but that is still 8 to accurately track the entire body.

  • olliewinks

    the blade and sorcery community would disagree too

  • This is really cool, and what a lot of people have been waiting for.