Tundra Tracker, the upcoming SteamVR tracker alternative to the Vive Tracker, was originally expected to hold a Kickstarter in January, but the company behind the project, Tundra Labs, says the crowdfunding campaign has been pushed back in light of delays in component sourcing.

Image courtesy Tundra Labs

In the latest official update on the project, Tundra Labs notes, “Right now the semiconductor industry is going through incredible supply shortages due to a ‘double whammy’ of dropping factory capacity due to COVID-19 and skyrocketing demand also due to the pandemic. For this reason, since November 2020, we have been tracking components used in the Tundra Tracker and many are showing 26 to 30 week lead time for high volume deliveries. This means that If we place orders today, components may not be delivered until August. Thankfully we already started placing component orders in Q4 of 2020. We are also working directly with vendors to ‘pull in’ deliveries as much as possible and pay expedites when available.”

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Given the long lead time, Tundra Labs says it has opted to delay the Kickstarter campaign to “shorten the time between when crowdfunding ends and when all backers receive their orders.”

The company now plans to launch the Kickstarter on March 29th for 30 days, and expects the first units to start shipping to early-bird backers starting in mid-June, while the bulk of backers can expect shipments in mid-September.

Beyond Kickstart plans, the company also revealed some more details on the Tundra Tracker’s design, including a closer look at how the swappable base plates will work.

Image courtesy Tundra Labs

“The rendering above demonstrates the production product design, especially about the swappable baseplates for Tundra Tracker. Based on feedback there will (at minimum) be options for an integrated strap loop baseplate as well as a backwards compatible with 1/4-20 mounts.” The company says it’s investigating additional base plates for other uses.

Tundra Labs also shared the first look at a functional prototype in action:

In addition to being smaller and lighter, Tundra Labs is aiming to make the price of the Tundra Tracker slightly less than the Vive Tracker, though pricing hasn’t been finalized yet. “We are still resolving the pricing question,” the company said in its latest update.

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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."
  • mellott124

    Hope this really enables VR peripherals like Vive claimed the Vive Tracker would. Vive really crippled the firmware for the Vive tracker and prevented anything from really using it. I have 6 months of Vive support emails trying to get basic analog stick input working. What a mess that was.

    • guest

      What was crippled with the firmware? There seems to be a lot of people on VRChat doing stuff with them.

      • mellott124

        One of the main ideas with Vive Tracker was you could interface to it through the USB and pins. Pins worked but had very basic button support. USB had full control where you could even simulate trackpad input. This was needed to create larger peripherals but USB was always crippled. By the time it was usable on gen 1, they rolled out gen 2 and broke it again. I was developing products for it. It was a mess and support, although they tried, couldn’t help.

        That’s very different than just using it as a simple tracker.

        • Vive trackers were very effective for bandai namco’s Mariokart VR, used for interacting with powerups l whilst being able to grip the steering wheel, each tracker on a wrist strap.

          And impressive at HTC’s World Cup football event in London where we kicked a ball in a football simulator, using tracker on foot strap.

          Best of luck to Tundra Labs and potential backers for their Kickstarter

          • mellott124

            Yeah, agreed. They’re fine in those scenarios where they’re being used as simple trackers.

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  • gothicvillas

    Vive trackers are big and bulky, looks like something out of Back to The Future films would have. This thing cant come soon enough.

  • implicator

    I’m looking forward to these a lot. They seem like a straight upgrade on the Vive trackers, and the price should help now that VRChat can be modded to take advantage of elbow and knee tracking.

  • Talamon

    Good to see this coming. But ah, I see a bit of a problem in that while lighthoustracking is superior there are few headsets that support it. What the market needs is a system that can do the same job of these trackers but work on any platform, and do it cheaply.

    • steamVR tracking is used by HTC Vive, Vive Pro, Vive Pro Eye and Cosmos elite, valve Index, Pimax (Artisan, 5k, 8k) as well as StarVR One, Vrgineers XTAL.

      Whilst last two are enterprise grade, there is still good choice of headsets for consumers using steamVR.

      And it’s possible to combine steamVR with WMR and Oculus to bring lighthouse tracked controllers into optically tracked headsets.

      • Albin Ekblom

        How is it possible to connect steamVR/lighthouse tracking with oculus quest tracking?

    • K C

      lighthouse tracking is used by basically EVERYTHING but oculus products, which are usually worse off/lower quality already

  • This is very interesting!

  • Hope it’s tracking works better then the original VIVE. I can’t count the number of times my hands or head just took off into outer space because of a tracking issue. And don’t sit there and tell me I’m wrong and it worked perfectly for YOU. My experience was it was hot garbage.

    When I switched over to the CV1 Rift, I was amazed how accurate and rock solid the tracking Oculus used was. The new inside-out tracking the Quest uses isn’t as good, even if it is far easier to setup.

    The camera based tracking was SO GOOD with the CV1 Rift, that I didn’t realize one of my 2 cameras was backwards for the first 3 months. One camera alone was better then two Lighthouse stations!

    • Anonmon

      I’m not going to tell you that Lighthouse is perfectly infallible, nothing is, but I am going to tell you that exact performance is going to be dependent on how the end user sets it up, and how much consideration said end user has to how it all works. You’re shooting lasers into the room and relying on the timing of that light to determine the location of tracked objects. Of course it’s going to have problems with tracking if you have reflective surfaces in the area throwing off where and how light is hitting the photodiodes, or if you don’t angle the Lighthouses themselves so they can actually see the area properly. Just like how you’re not going to have a great experience if you’re in a dark or excessively bright room with inside-out camera based tracking.

      Unlike how it’s marketed, any technology relies on physical objects doing things physically to work. Sometimes, you need to have how things work in mind to be able to use devices properly / at all. You don’t drop things, because physical connections are required for things to work. You don’t stick objects into excessive heat, because that’s going to physically damage the thing in question. And you don’t just slap Lighthouses wherever in a physical space with no consideration to where you’re going to be playing in, don’t angle them in a room so they can’t actually shoot the lasers into the playspace, and/or have a ton of mirrors/pictures/generally reflective or shiny objects in or around the playspace that reflect light and complain that the tracking sucks.

    • K C

      yeah everyones experiences are different, with the CV1 tracking was “meh” and went around crazy here and there even with multiple setups and 360 setup, with lighthouses when i got my VP was much better overall, and why i prefer vive wands over touch controllers, even if the touch is more comfortable/usable. the vive ones just track better a majority of the time for me

      • Jistuce

        No personal experience with Vive or any other Lighthouse-based devices, but my Oculus Rift worked great part of the time. The other part of the time, the sun shone straight through a window behind the tracking cameras(so it wasn’t shining into the cameras), and tracking got very choppy and unreliable.

        IN FAIRNESS, with my setup that problem occurred at sunrise and was less of a problem than it was a reminder I should have gone to bed at some point in the past several hours.

    • implicator

      Fully updated 2.0 base stations work much better in my experience.

    • Caven

      How did you manage to calibrate it? My CV1 was obnoxiously fussy about camera positioning.

  • ymo1965

    Wish the devs success with these. Those HTC ones are grossly overpriced, like most things from HTC infact.

  • Thud

    But will it play Crysis while tracking my beer.