HTC announces Vive Pro lip tracking module and new VR body trackers

HTC announces Vive Pro lip tracking module and new VR body trackers
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HTC announces Vive Pro lip tracking module and new VR body trackers

HTC broadcasts Vive Professional lip monitoring module and new VR physique trackers

HTC has introduced a brand new set of trackers for its Vive digital actuality headsets, together with one which captures facial expressions and mouth actions. The $129.99 Vive Facial Tracker attaches to the Vive Professional headset. It makes use of two cameras and an infrared illuminator to document lip, cheek, and jaw actions after which interprets that into digital facial expressions. HTC says the product is “coming quickly.”

HTC unveiled an experimental VR facial tracker in 2019, and it teased the product earlier this week on Twitter. A number of builders, just like the creators of social area Neos VR, have labored with the instrument. Till at the moment, although, HTC hadn’t confirmed a large business launch. The Facial Tracker helps 38 distinct facial actions, and customers also can pair it with the Vive Professional Eye, a Vive Professional variant with built-in eye monitoring. That would successfully translate most of a person’s face onto an avatar or right into a movement seize system.

There’s additionally a brand new, third-generation model of HTC’s common goal VR tracker. The palm-sized monitoring pucks are 33 % smaller and 15 % lighter than the final era, and HTC guarantees a 75 % enhance in battery life. They can even be launched “quickly” for $129.99. Relying on the precise date, they might find yourself competing with the upcoming Tundra Tracker — a smaller, SteamVR-based different that’s anticipated to ship this summer season.

These HTC modules supply exact, correct monitoring for physique elements that commonplace VR headset sensors don’t seize. A number of VR social experiences, for example, already estimate individuals’s lip movement primarily based on the sound of their voice. However the brand new facial tracker can straight seize how their faces transfer, reflecting expressions like smiles and frowns. Equally, the VR trackers may be mounted to customized controllers or hooked up with straps to individuals’s legs or toes — which are sometimes given rudimentary animation or not displayed in any respect in VR.

Sadly, the facial tracker apparently has restricted compatibility. It’s listed as working with the professional-level Vive Professional line, however not the newer, consumer-focused Vive Cosmos. As VR developer Olivier JT notes on Twitter, it additionally doesn’t seem to assist Valve’s Index, a high-end headset whose {hardware} setup overlaps with the Vive Professional’s.

Regardless of this, face monitoring may turn into an more and more essential a part of current-generation VR. Fb CEO Mark Zuckerberg mentioned earlier this week that Fb’s VR division, Oculus, will prioritize capturing eye motion and facial expressions in future {hardware} in addition to releasing extra life like digital avatars.

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