Weekly recap: Self-tracking Vive Tracker, new PSVR 2 feature & ChatGPT on Apple Watch

Weekly recap: Self-tracking Vive Tracker, new PSVR 2 feature & ChatGPT on Apple Watch

Our weekly recap: HTC announces new trackers that don't require external sensors. Sony's VR headset could whisper warnings to prevent accidents in VR.

HTC's new Vive Trackers track themselves

HTC's upcoming Vive trackers don't require a base station. Up to five trackers can be used simultaneously with a USB-C dongle, and the accessory also supports OpenXR and is lighter than previous trackers at 100 grams. This opens up many new tracking scenarios. And with this hardware, HTC proves that it is still willing to experiment and innovate, even if it does not always work the first time.

The HTC Vive tracker is smaller and lighter than the Tracker 3.0.

HTC Vive's tracker is smaller and lighter than Tracker 3.0 | Image: HTC

Better VR haptics for Meta Quest

Audiovisually, VR is already very immersive, but as soon as you reach for an object, the illusion is gone. You can't feel it, and it's almost always too light, which is especially annoying with heavy objects. A big two-handed sword, for example, gives you the feeling of fighting with a foil, which is contrary to immersion. Targeted haptic effects could make VR more tangible, and two new software tools from Meta and Unity should help.

New VR treadmill Omni One comes with a hefty price tag

A second issue that has yet to be properly addressed, besides haptics, is how to move around in VR. Treadmills are often mentioned as a way to better simulate physical locomotion in VR environments.

The new Omni One shows (once again) that this is not a solution for the masses: Its huge footprint comes with a hefty price tag of $2600 plus tax and shipping. But if you have a lot of space in your basement and deep pockets, it might be worth a try.

A woman uses the Virtuix treadmill in the living room. In the background, friends follow the VR action on a TV.

The VR treadmill, decorative in the living room, according to the manufacturer. | Image: Virtuix

PSVR 2 could get 3D audio alerts

One of the pros and cons of wearing a VR headset is that you are no longer aware of your surroundings. This increases the risk of accidents, especially with children or pets who do not expect to go unnoticed. Sony is working on a warning solution that will use 3D audio to tell VR users from which direction and at what distance a potentially dangerous object is approaching. Visual cues such as color changes will also help.

More on PSVR 2: The designer of PSVR 1 reviews the hardware of PSVR 2, and we've collected some tips for overcoming VR sickness specifically for Playstation VR 2.


ChatGPT on your Apple Watch makes Siri really sad

An app brings ChatGPT to the Apple Watch, and with the upgrade to GPT-4, Apple's own "AI" Siri looks even more meager. But maybe the tech company will follow up soon, right after the presentation of the XR headset this summer and the Apple Car sometime.

But seriously, the Apple Watch app "Petey" connects to the ChatGPT API and even supports voice input for the ultimate AI dialog. Chat with the wisdom of the world by speaking into your watch: is that enough future computing for this week?

In other AI news at THE DECODER, forecasting community Metaculus predicts weak human-like AI as early as 2026 - some 25 years earlier than a year ago. And Google launches its ChatGPT competitor Bard, but he's still singing a little off-key.