The company developed the technology to be embedded into VR headsets instead of body equipment.
HTC has announced a new tech development in virtual reality that allows headsets to provide full body tracking with the Vive Ultimate Trackers.
The technology would make it possible to eliminate the need for those weird legless avatars.
Tracking technology has been some of the most important advancements in virtual reality. It provides a measurement of movement of the head as well as other parts of the body, typically the hands. The addition of tracking makes it possible for VR to offer a more immersive experience.
That said, the tech is limited when it comes to more than the head and hands. HTC’s new development has overcome this challenge, making it possible to expand on the experience provided in a VR environment.
Conventional virtual reality headsets don’t feature external tracking sensors for body movement.
VR headsets that offer body tracking rely entirely on “inside out” tracking inside the headset (without external sensors), as well as controllers that allow the player’s movement to be followed. It is in this way that VR developers come up with avatars that will move along with the user. That said, as the Quest avatars have clearly shown with their lack of legs, there are definite limits to this strategy.
While some developers have used machine learning algorithms to provide leg and body position estimates and overcome this limitation, HTC’s new technology goes well beyond the use of software alone. Moreover, the body tracking is also accomplished without requiring the user to wear a haptic suit.
The new HTC Vive Ultimate Trackers are meant to provide all-in-one tracking that is portable, wireless, and accurately capture a user’s motion without needing additional external wearables or tracking towers.
Up to five of the trackers can be worn at one time, making it possible to skip the haptic suit and yet still enjoy a full-body tracking experience in virtual reality. The company has stated that the battery life is as long as seven hours. The gadget will continue to function effectively when worn as far as about 30 feet away from the included wireless dongle.