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HTC Vive debuts its 1st 5G VR experience and VR wrist tracker

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HTC is debuting its first 5G wireless experience for a Vive virtual reality headset.

The Taiwan-based company is debuting its first portable, private 5G experience on a wireless VR headset in a partnership with Lumen Technologies. HTC made the announcement at the CES 2022 tech trade show in Las Vegas.

Enterprises will now have access to their own private, secure 5G infrastructure and network — and it’s the size of a carry-on suitcase.

VR experiences can run anytime, anywhere in just 30 minutes — in even the most remote locations and enjoy high-resolution, low latency wireless VR experiences that are on par to PC VR/tethered VR experiences, said Shen Ye, senior director global head of hardware products at HTC, in an interview with GamesBeat.


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Wrist tracker

Above: The wrist tracker detects movement that cameras don’t catch.

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Image Credit: HTC

And HTC unveiled a new wrist-based tracker that allows you to track from the fingertips to elbow, even when the headset can’t see the tracker, Ye said. He demoed it for me in a virtual session and showed how it fits around your wrist in a form-fitting way so that it stays in place at the part where you flex your joint.

It’s designed for use with Vive Focus 3 VR headset and is 85% smaller than a Vive Focus 3 controller and 50% lighter. You can even attach the tracker to objects, which enable them to have six degrees of freedom (6DoF). It works with the Vive Focus 3 because it has inside-out tracking, using cameras on the device that capture a lot of your movement.

However, cameras can’t see everything. When you move your hand behind your head, like with a golf swing, the VR headset has to calculate your hand locations based on the momentum sensors (via gyros or accelerometers). And when you cover one hand with another, a camera can’t see the hand. So the wrist tracker uses embedded infrared LEDs for tracking, along with the momentum sensors.

“We want to enable hand tracking, but hand tracking with cameras has limits,” Ye said. “If you block your hands with one arm, you are limited. A tennis swing is out of the field of view of cameras. Trackers let you do a ton of prediction, and the wrist tracker helps a lot.”

HTC also showed off new charging accessories for Vive Focus 3 including a 4-in-1 charging dock and charging case, making it easier for arcades, location-based entertainment venues and other large group experiences to quickly charge Vive Focus 3 on-the-go without long pauses in between games or training sessions.

It is also showing demos for LBE and hand tracking. This allows users to accurately operate co-location tracking in a shared space without individually re-calibrating. It also has better hand-tracking accuracy and more. You can put a tracker on something like a water bottle and track it better. HTC is showing a firefighter training app that shows how you can track someone’s hands and see exactly where they are pointing a water hose.

Above: You can now charge a Vive Focus 3 while it’s in its case.

Image Credit: HTC

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HTC is showing a Healium that helps you improve your mood; and Color Connect, which lets you kick back after a long day and immerse yourself in 360-degree puzzles. And it is working with MyndVR, the largest developer of virtual reality solutions for older adults in the U.S. to reduce isolation and improve mood with its new reminiscence therapy app, MyndVR Originals (on HTC Flow in early 2022). Ye foresees consumer applications like dancing games or fitness apps that could make use of the trackers.

HTC is also showing new games like After the Fall for the Vive Pro 2 VR headset.


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