HTC Vive Tracker lets you bring any real-world object into VR

One of the main draws of the HTC Vive is its ability to track movement with a pair of nifty hand controllers. Now the maker of the VR headset has launched a tool that could help bring any number of real-world objects into a virtual space.

HTC Vive Tracker lets you bring any real-world object into VR

The HTC Tracker is essentially a motion sensor that works much like the circular end of the Vive’s controller. Instead of tracking your hands, however, these sensors can be attached to objects ranging from furniture to fake weapons.

With a diameter of just under 10cm and a weight of 85g, as well as universal screws that allow it to be attached to most camera mounts, the idea is that the HTC Tracker can be easily affixed to everyday objects. These will then be picked up by the HTC Vive’s sensor array and factored into a virtual environment.

This of course relies on developers making 3D renders that will appear in a VR space. If, say, the tracker was attached to the bottom of a real-life baseball bat – as was demonstrated at CES 2017 – this needs to be paired with a virtual model in the game. Then again, a developer could also make something totally unlike the physical object – a tech-heavy example of using sticks for swords, as it were. Or, attach it to your cat and have it wander around your living room/battlefield/spaceship/dystopian sex den.vive_tracker_img_2_-_side

Vive has said its tracker is “the first step in growing an ecosystem of third-party accessories that will change how we interact with virtual experiences”. It plans to give 1,000 HTC Trackers to developers in 2017, and will put the sensors on general release in Q2 at an as-yet-unannounced price.

Despite the dangers of flinging around a baseball bat as you wear a hi-tech blindfold, connecting physical objects and virtual spaces looks to be a growing area within the VR industry. Projects such as Marshmallow Laser Feast’s Treehugger: Wawona, which was recently on show at the Southbank Centre in London, showed that much can be achieved by overlapping VR models with real-life set design. While the HTC sensor is unlikely to work well with smaller objects, it marks an intriguing glimpse into a future where the lines between physical and virtual worlds become increasingly blurred.

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos