Some of the inner workings of Valve’s Lighthouse base station, an infrared laser-emitting device used for ‘room scale’ positional tracking, were revealed today by Valve developer Joe Ludwig.

Ludwig’s SVVR Conference talk entitled “OpenVR and You” addressed a number of issues dealing with the open source nature of the SteamVR platform—even including how the Lighthouse tracking system base station basically works. Nope. Not elves.


“The way this works is: 60 times a second it flashes a global strobe of light followed by one of the laser sweeps, and then it flashes again and follows the other laser sweep. Between the flash and a sweep hitting a given sensor—we can time that—with that timing information we then know the angle of that sensor relative to that axis on the base station. So you do that in two axes for each sensor on the device where they’re all rigidly attached together.” – Joe Ludwig

Road to VR has boots on the ground at the SVVR Conference and Expo, so check back for the latest updates and live news.

Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.