This year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona is underway, and while the event’s main focus is inevitably on the newest batch of smartphones to hit the market this year, VR’s presence can definitely be felt. Visiting HTC’s booth, we got a chance to see the newer Vive Tracker in action with Valve’s 2.0 SteamVR Tracking system.

Nearly a year old now, the first generation Vive Tracker contained SteamVR Tracking 1.0 sensors, the same seen in the original HTC Vive which allows it to be positionally tracked by the SteamVR (AKA Lighthouse) Tracking system. HTC had debuted the new Vive Pro, which uses 2.0 sensors, but we hadn’t seen the Vive Tracker with the newer sensors until now.

Image courtesy Mi Heipa Sports

HTC has updated its Vive Tracker to contain the 2.0 sensors, showing them off with UK-based sports training and rehab company Mi Hiepa Sports. In the soccer experience, four trackers were used to track the user’s legs and feet, allowing the platform to run the user through soccer drills seen through the Vive Pro. The drills gather data about the player’s performance to create a baseline for improvement. Adam Dickinson, development director at Mi Hiepa Sports, expects that the expanded tracking range of SteamVR Tracking 2.0 will make the platform more useful for soccer clubs.

SEE ALSO
‘Driver4VR’ Emulates Vive Trackers With Kinect for Cheap VR Body Tracking

Neither the original HTC Vive nor the first generation of Vive Trackers work with the newer SteamVR Tracking 2.0 base stations, meaning the next generation of Vive Trackers were bound to come sooner or later. HTC isn’t talking pricing or availability of the newer Trackers just yet (though the originals launched for $100 each), but say they are working with developers who have been developing for the original Trackers to make sure they can get what they need going forward. HTC began selling the original Vive Tracker to consumers only a few months ago.


Additional reporting by Ben Lang

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. See here for more information.


  • So, the big question is, will Valve make the Knuckle controllers LH2 only thus creating a wave of Vive1->Vive Pro upgrades. Maybe this has been the plan all along and why it has been delayed for so long. Or, will knuckles release with a LH1 “and” LH2 chip inside.

    • Laurence Nairne

      I can’t see Knuckles supporting LH1 if for no other reason than the timeframe of release. I can’t see them getting here until Q4, maybe even next year.

      • Adrian Meredith

        It does so don’t worry

        • Laurence Nairne

          Source?

          • drd7of14

            1st generation controllers/trackers work with LH1
            2nd generation controllers/trackers work with LH1

            1st generation controllers/trackers don’t work with LH2
            2nd generation controllers/trackers work with LH2

            So, it would make sense for the Knuckle controllers to be the 2nd generation, as they’d be compatible with both LightHouse versions.

            This was explained by HTC during the reveal, and interviews/Q&A afterwards, during CES 2018 back in January. They just specified that LH2 would need all new controllers/peripherals/HMD.

            keep in mind, Valve designs the controllers and base stations, the knuckle controllers being compatible with both LH1/LH2 would only make sense. There’s no reason for them not too, since the Gen2 controllers/trackers are both compatible with LH1/LH2.

          • Laurence Nairne

            Truché

    • Andrew Jakobs

      The new sensors are backward compatible with LH1, the old sensors can’t work with the LH2 basestations. So no need to upgrade to Pro or newer LH basestations if all you want to use is the knuckle controllers. but first let’s see if those controllers are really an improvement.

      • Yeah I understand that the sensors inside the Vive Pro HMD can talk to LH1 base stations (hence just the HMD only upgrade for Vive 1 users) but I am not sure knuckles would work with the older Lighthouse 1 base stations, just like these pucks do not when they release the final version?

        • Andrew Jakobs

          The new trackers will work with the LH1 basestations (they don’t talk to the basestations), the old ones won’t work with the new basestations. these 2.0 tracking chips are compatible with LH1, not the other way round.. So it will work with the LH1 basestations, but you won’t have the advantages LH2 gives (so less accuracy and less space).

  • Great to know

  • Also the V2 tracking system uses a newer nRF52832 2.4Ghz SoC that supports BT 5.0, meaning more bandwidth and range. Also, HTC was not able to provide me any specs on their new transceiver for wireless use, which if the range is less than 11.2m, you won’t be able to extend to the other corner if you put your PC in the middle of the opposing side if you opt to push your boundaries out to the new specification with four lighthouses at 10m x 10m. Also, I have confirmed that TPCast does not have the range either. It seems VR Backpacks might still be the only way to get full range needed to support large spaces. With Intel’s new SOC that will be in the Hades Canyon, I can see lighter/cheaper backpacks being made with medium specs. I will find out soon. :)