HTC shows open Vive XR Elite and business solutions
HTC introduces new Vive XR Elite comfort options, Viverse Business, a broadcast bundle, and a new 5G streaming solution.
HTC focused on business solutions for virtual collaboration at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. Announcements and demos included Viverse for Business, 5G streaming solutions, and film production tools. An alternative forehead pad for the new Vive XR Elite (review) potentially of interest to consumers, also caused quite a stir.
Vive XR Elite becomes a more open XR headset
The “MR Face Gasket” replaces the slim VR headst’s larger light shield with a small pad on the forehead. According to HTC, this merges the natural environment in a passthrough augmented reality mode with the peripheral field of view. The principle is similar to the mixed reality headsets Meta Quest Pro (review) and Lynx R-1 (info).
Get ready for an out-of-this-world #MixedReality experience with #VIVEXRElite MR face gasket! Seamlessly use real-world equipment and maintain situational awareness while immersing yourself in virtual worlds.
Learn more about the #VIVEXRElite: https://t.co/khBQLeSzVZ#MWC23 pic.twitter.com/FR0Xb3S8AU
— HTC VIVE (@htcvive) February 27, 2023
The new face pad is also designed to increase comfort and make XR tasks easier, “as the user is aware of their situation and position at all times while being able to use real-world objects,” according to HTC. If desired, a thin headband improves the fit, attaching to the side of the glasses temples and distributing the load more to the top of the head.
It remains unclear whether the transition between the real and computer worlds is as smooth as with competing headsets designed for this use. Since the Vive XR Elite has a depth sensor, it seems to be intended for AR use. Although, only one camera provides the passthrough image. In our test session, the sensor was not yet active, but the result was already quite usable.
The “MR Face Gasket” comes to the official Vive store in the second quarter of 2023. Pre-orders for the Vive XR Elite start shipping on March 10.
At MWC, interested parties tried out the forehead pad with the new AR mode of Yuki, a virtual reality game from Brazilian studio Arvore. In the rousing arcade shooter, players hold a virtual action figure in their hands, shoot it at colorful anime enemies, and move it through a sea of glowing bullets.
In the planned mixed reality mode “Yuki MRcade,” players do not float through the room in one direction. Instead, enemies open portals and enter the real room from any direction. The date and platforms for the free AR update remain unknown. A release for Quest 2 (review) and Quest Pro seems likely.
Collaboration with Viverse for Business
HTC’s Viverse offers ready-to-use building blocks that companies can put together a modular design. This ranges from the creation of avatars to communication features and visual room customization. As HTC put it:
“At Mobile World Congress, Viverse and partner Cityscape will showcase how companies can use this modular approach to create their own virtual environments and brand them with their own corporate design. At launch, the following modules will be available for selection: Common Rooms, Reception Rooms, Showrooms, Team Rooms, Meeting Rooms, and Auditoriums.”
The platform is accessible via VR or AR headsets, smartphones, tablets, desktop PCs, or laptops.
Broadcast bundle for film production
Last year, HTC released the all-in-one solution “Vive Mars Camtrack.” The solution simplifies recording actors in front of virtual sets. VIVE designed the system for more affordable, streamlined virtual productions in the studio and on-location. It combines camera shots and recorded tracking data in a single device.
At MWC, HTC announced a limited-time broadcast bundle with Vive Mars Camtrack and Aximmetry‘s matching software. Users in Europe and North America can save a total of 10 percent when purchasing Vive Mars Camtrack and Aximmetry Broadcast DE Edition.
A Youtube tutorial provides insight into how Aximmetry’s real-time graphics rendering works in practice and how the individual boxes connect to Vive trackers. After setting up in front of the green screen, performers move through a virtual background that loads in seconds.
Since the background is rendered in real time, the crew can preview the final result while still on set. In addition to Unreal Engine’s Live Link, VIVE Mars CamTrack also directly supports the Freed protocol.
5G collaboration and VR arcades
The “Reign Core S2” 5G solution is for live streaming in virtual settings. HTC showed a second version of its “broadcast case” in Barcelona. The system is more compact, faster, and has an even larger 5G coverage of 30,000 square feet. “It complies with O-RAN standards and is extremely mobile. This allows it to be deployed effortlessly in offices, pop-up spaces, or warehouses,” according to VIVE.
Trade show visitors tried out Autodesk‘s “VRED 3D engineering collaboration” together. In a virtual room, design engineers review 3D prototypes together, even if they are in different locations.
HTC Vive also presented its Location Based Software Suite (LBSS). The software package and the Vive Focus 3 VR headset are designed to make it quick and easy to set up location-based experiences in a variety of environments. (Incidentally, the Vive Focus 3 became the first VR headset to support Microsoft Intune about a month ago.)
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