sixense stem razer hydra 2

Sixense has officially announced that they’ll be bringing their next-gen ‘STEM’ motion controller to Kickstarter this month, along with a few additional details.

Sixense, creators of the technology behind the Razer Hydra motion controller, announced the wireless ‘STEM’ motion controller at the end of June.

Yesterday the company made a small update to the official page noting that the STEM developer will head to Kickstarter this month. They also illuminated exactly what ‘STEM’ stands for: Sixense Tracking Embedded Module.

sixense wireless dev kit hydra 2 (2)

The site also now says that the unit will “support up to five (not three) wireless motion trackers,” confirming our guess that the small units in the front will be clip-on positional trackers. The previously released photo had shown only one, with indentations where the others would go. This might suggest that the clip-on positional trackers will be an optional add-on to the system.

Positional head tracking is one of the most sought after additions to the Oculus Rift dev kit. While it is expected to be included in the consumer version of the Oculus Rift, the STEM’s positional trackers are likely to be a good way to add the feature to the Oculus Rift dev kit.

The remaining clip-on positional trackers will likely find their home on the player’s feet, allowing more complete avatar embodiment, walking detection (running in place, or on an omni-directional treadmill), and may even provide a way to measure user height in order to properly scale the player’s avatar.

The Razer Hydra has become the go-to virtual reality motion controller since the launch of the Oculus Rift. Sixense says that the STEM system will be backwards compatible with games that are designed for the Razer Hydra.

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While Sixense STEM doesn’t bare the Razer Hydra name, it is essentially the Razer Hydra 2. It appears to use the same technology but will be sold under the Sixense brand, as we noted when covering the initial announcement:

Equally as interesting as the new wireless tracking dev kit is that Sixense appears to be going independent. In the past, Sixense had sold their technology to Razer who put it into the Hydra package. Sixense has been careful not to call this the ‘Wireless Hydra’ or ‘Hydra 2′ and is specifically noting that that the unit will be launching under the Sixense name.

In fact, the original Hydra prototype was wireless to begin with. When Razer licensed the tech, they chose to go with a wired version (perhaps because of price concerns). It would appear that the consumer version of this new unit will also be launching as a Sixense product.

Shout-out to @curtrock_live for pointing this out!

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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."
  • Andrés

    I wonder how this will interact with the upcoming Tactical Haptics Kickstarter?

  • eyeandeye

    Pretty awesome! I got to meet Simon yesterday at Quakecon and talked about the new unit. His excitement is infectious.

  • deadering

    OH so excited for this. As an Virtuix Omni backer this is so amazing. The cords did not really hinder gameplay so much as became a major annoyance when storing and using. I imagine with the Omni it would get tangled like crazy.