Vive Focus 3: HTC announces wrist tracker

Vive Focus 3: HTC announces wrist tracker

HTC’s new wrist tracker aims to improve hand tracking with Vive Focus 3 and integrate real-world objects into virtual reality.

HTC is unveiling the new tracker at CES 2022: It straps to your wrist and is specifically designed to work with Vive Focus 3’s optical hand tracking system.

Alternatively, it can also be attached to objects – similar to the Lighthouse Vive Tracker 3.0. The object’s movements are then transferred into virtual reality.

Camera hand tracking: focus tracker improves covert tracking

According to HTC, the Focus 3 can still track hands even when they disappear from the cameras’ field of view, thanks to the wrist tracker. This is possible, according to HTC, thanks to “high-frequency IMU data and an advanced kinematic model.”

What’s more, hand tracking still works reliably even when hands are obscuring each other. This occlusion is a frequent reason for dropouts in purely optical hand tracking, such as in Quest 2.

Meanwhile, if you mount the Vive Tracker on an object instead of your wrist, the Focus cameras track the object directly. According to HTC, this makes the tracker suitable for VR training, for example, to track tools, or for use in VR arcades. The combined use on wrist and object is also possible.

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“Location Based Entertainment (LBE) locations can effortlessly add accessories – everything from sports equipment like tennis rackets and baseball bats to weapons for first-person shooter games,” writes Vive manager Shen Ye.

Focus tracker to be released soon

The wrist tracker for Vive Focus 3 is expected to launch in early 2022 in the US and then in Europe, costing 129 euros. The weight is around 63 grams. The battery is supposed to last around four hours with constant use.

Der Tracker in der Seitenansicht. | Bild: HTC

The tracker from a side angle. | Image: HTC

The tracker is charged via USB-C, the wrist mount is removable and thus washable. HTC wants to publish the 3D CAD of the tracker so that you can print your holders if necessary.

In addition to the tracker, HTC revealed a charging case for travel and a charger for up to four Focus batteries at the same time.

Vive Focus 3 Akku-Ladestation. | Bild: HTC

Vive Focus 3 battery charging station. | Image: HTC

Die Ladetasche vernetzt automatisch die Brille mit den passenden Controllern. Das soll die Nutzung erleichtern, wenn man mehrere der Geräte transportiert. | Bild: HTC

The charging case automatically syncs the goggles with the matching controllers. This should make it easier to use when transporting multiple of the devices. | Image: HTC

In the near future, HTC also plans to bring WiFi 6E support to Focus 3 in Germany. Other software improvements include MDM and batch configuration, as well as support for 2D Android apps.

Sources: HTC