Tuesday, April 20, 2021

HTC cuts down on its VR Tracker and launches new face tracking accessory

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HTC today launches its third generation Long live Tracker, which is significantly smaller in size and weight than its immediate predecessor. The Vive Tracker 3.0 is about 33% smaller than the 2018 model and 15% lighter, with a footprint of about 10 centimeters, or four inches, smaller. These quality of life size reductions mean the device is much easier to attach to your body, or to an accessory, which is very expensive on older bulky models. Oh, and he’s now using USB-C.

Daniel Cooper

Despite its smaller body, the company claims the device will last up to 75% longer on a single charge, bringing the cited battery life down to nearly seven hours. HTC argued that smaller trackers should make it easier to clip them to the wrists and ankles for full body tracking in VR. Compared to the test of the larger version in Rezzil player 21 a few weeks ago, the improvement is significant. But HTC said there was no compromise in tracking accuracy compared to its older siblings.

Image of HTC's Vive Tracker 3.0 sitting on a table, exposing its USB-C side.

Daniel Cooper

There should be no complaints about backward compatibility between new trackers and old hardware. The company says it will integrate easily with SteamVR 1.0 and 2.0, and remain compatible with any accessories you already own that use the pogo pin connectors. The HTC Vive Tracker 3.0 is available today in the US and Europe, priced at $ 129 / € 139, both on Vive’s own site, as well as Amazon and other participating retailers.

Conceptual image of HTC's Vive Facial Tracker as shown on a rendered individual.

HTC

At the same time, HTC is also launching the new Vive Facial tracker, which “seamlessly tracks 38 facial movements across the lips, jaw, teeth, tongue, chin and cheeks.” The idea is to allow people in VR to project their own avatar with a precise version of their own face, followed in real time. The system uses an infrared illuminator connected to two cameras that monitor (presumably the same way FaceID works) the movement of your mouth.

The company says it’s both a new tool for gamers and developers, but also a way to “build momentum” for future storytelling methods. It could also be useful for corporate users who need to monitor facial comments during product testing, as well as in medical situations. Plus, it can offer cheap and cheerful motion capture for filmmakers who can’t afford more expensive and full-featured methods. And that, too, is available for purchase starting today, on the HTC website.

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