HTC Vive launches accessories for facial and full-body tracking - Facial Tracker 1

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The HTC Vive Facial Tracker and third-generation full-body tracking solution will be available on 24 March, priced at $129.99 each

Quick read

➨ The Vive Facial Tracker tracks 38 facial movements across the lips, jaw, teeth, tongue, chin, and cheeks
➨ It has been designed for use with Vive Pro headsets
➨ HTC Vive has also released its third generation Vive Tracker, which has 75% increased battery life, and is 15% lighter and 33% smaller than the previous versions

The story

As promised, HTC Vive is launching new virtual reality hardware today—two accessories that build on existing full-body tracking and are capable of reading and recreating facial expressions.

First up is the Vive Facial Tracker, which tracks 38 facial movements across the lips, jaw, teeth, tongue, chin, and cheeks.

HTC Vive says the new facial tracker provides accurate real-time depiction of almost the entire lower facial area in virtual reality. It will be available in the US from 24 March for $129.99.

It has been designed for use with Vive Pro headsets, which it “simply sticks to”. Under the hood, the Vive Facial Tracker boasts a dual camera solution that features a 60 Hz tracking rate with sub-10 ms response time and an IR illuminator.

HTC Vive launches accessories for facial and full-body tracking - Facial Tracker 2
The new facial tracker provides accurate real-time depiction of almost the entire lower facial area in virtual reality

HTC Vive has also released its third generation Vive Tracker. It has 75% increased battery life, and is 15% lighter and 33% smaller than the previous versions, the first of which was launched in 2017.

This tracker delivers full-body tracking (at least three are required to achieve this). HTC Vive says a single charge gives up to seven hours of continuous use, with the same sub-millimetre tracking precision and 240 degree FOV (field of view) as previous generations.

The new Vive Tracker is fully backwards compatible with previous generations, as well as SteamVR 2.0 and 1.0 tracking and all SteamVR-based headsets.

It’s also available from 24 March, for $129.99.

HTC Vive launches accessories for facial and full-body tracking - Tracker 1
This tracker delivers full-body tracking, although at least three are required

HTC says combining the Vive Facial Tracker, Tracker and Pro Eye delivers “the most realistic, accurate, and accessible head-to-toe tracking solution” for virtual reality, a claim squarely aimed at the enterprise market.

Previous generations of the Vive Tracker have been deployed across use cases from medical simulations and virtual Hollywood productions, to first responder and elite sports training. The design has also led to a proliferation of compatible accessories for the location-based entertainment and home experience segments.

The addition of the Vive Facial Tracker will undoubtedly open up interest in the HTC Vive ecosystem from industries and sectors in need of realistic avatars.

As VRWorldTech highlighted yesterday, a common issue with virtual reality for communication and collaboration in particular is the inability of hardware to accurately recreate facial expressions.

With face tracking, an avatar’s mouth and face would reflect the user’s own as they speak to clients and colleagues. This would elevate virtual reality from better-than-video-conferencing to must-have for remote working in a globalised world.

Dan O’Brien, general manager of HTC America, comments: “The VR community has far surpassed our expectations in developing an ever-expanding library of useful and entertaining applications for the VR ecosystem with the Vive Tracker.”

“With its smaller design and more efficient energy management, this next generation of the Vive Tracker will increase the utility and immersion of VR, further enabling the adoption of the technology across industries and use cases.”

There are also reports that HTC Vive is working on a new headset. Will these trackers work with that new device, signalling that the company is sticking to developing an ecosystem of accessories, rather than an all-in-one like its competitors? Here’s what VRWorldTech would like to see for the enterprise market.

Let VRWorldTech know what you think via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or editor@vrworldtech.com.

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Images: HTC Vive

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