HTC shared a curious tease that reveals a brand new Vive product which seems to be a part of a system leveraging the corporate’s Vive Trackers for digital productions.
HTC’s Vive model has been solely targeted on XR applied sciences, however late final week the corporate teased a brand new Vive product that’s probably extra tangential to the XR area than a part of it.
The brand new product was proven pictured basically in full, which supplies us some robust hints about what it can do.Picture courtesy HTC
The small field clearly has a show which reveals that it may detect three Vive Trackers and 4 SteamVR Monitoring base stations. And whereas the DisplayPort, HDMI, and three USB ports would possibly counsel it is a compact PC that may deal with its personal VR rendering, different hints level towards a much less highly effective, purpose-built management gadget for detecting, capturing, and relaying the place of the trackers.
Why would possibly you need such a factor? Digital manufacturing—utilizing blended reality-like applied sciences for taking pictures movie productions—is the apparent reply. That is bolstered by the ‘Timecode’ and ‘Genlock’ readouts on the field’s show, that are generally used to maintain movie and audio tools in excellent sync.
Positional monitoring is massively essential in digital manufacturing, particularly for monitoring cameras, whether or not you’re taking pictures completely towards a green-screen or an LED wall.
Within the first case, exactly capturing the motion of the digicam makes like a lot simpler in post-production when CGI comes into play. As an alternative of manually aligning the true shot towards CGI parts, the digital digicam might be simply aligned to the true digicam to maintain every part in sync.
If taking pictures towards an LED wall (a big panoramic show that reveals background imagery rendered in real-time on the time of filming), that you must know the exact place of the true digicam in an effort to have the background imagery transfer realistically in real-time.
Past digicam monitoring, correct place monitoring in manufacturing can be utilized to trace props, actors, and extra, which makes them extra simply changed or altered in post-production.
After all, there’s loads of positional monitoring applied sciences which were used within the movie area for many years at this level… so why would HTC be stepping into the sport?
Nicely, in comparison with most of what’s on the market, Valve’s SteamVR Monitoring system is inexpensive, straightforward to arrange, pretty exact, and dang low cost. And HTC is the main supplier of SteamVR trackers, small monitoring pucks that are suitable with the system.
For round a thousand —excluding the worth of HTC’s new… let’s name it ‘Vive Tracker field’—you’ll be able to have a fairly sized monitoring quantity with 4 SteamVR Monitoring base stations to exactly monitor three trackers (although hopefully the field will help extra than simply three, which might make the system simply extensible).
Examine that to one thing extra generally seen within the digital manufacturing area, like OptiTrack, which might do extra however begins nearer to $10,000 and may simply exceed $100,000 if you wish to enhance the scale of the amount.
Again to HTC’s new Vive product; it’s already attainable to make use of SteamVR Monitoring for digital manufacturing use-cases, however it isn’t precisely an easy course of. Not solely do you want a devoted PC with unusual (within the movie area) software program put in (SteamVR), however you additionally want a USB dongle for every Vive Tracker that you just plan to make use of.
The HTC Vive Tracker field might be designed to be a turnkey answer that’s able to go with none software program set up or further dongles, plus the flexibility to sync the positional monitoring knowledge timing exactly with different manufacturing tools on set.
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The tip aim right here is not only for HTC to earn cash by promoting the field, but additionally by promoting extra of its Vive Trackers. The corporate’s monitoring pucks are well-liked amongst hardcore VR fanatics who wish to do full-body monitoring, however that’s a extremely area of interest viewers. Basic function monitoring, for digital manufacturing or in any other case, is a a lot bigger potential marketplace for HTC to faucet, even when it does imply veturing a bit outdoors of what has been the standard wheelhouse of the Vive model.
And whereas Vive tracker field most likely doesn’t imply an excessive amount of for the XR trade itself, it could inform us extra about how HTC’s XR arm—Vive—is faring proper now.
With its final 4 main VR headset releases seemingly not producing a lot traction for the corporate within the shopper VR area the place it as soon as dominated, Vive is veering into new territories looking for enterprise. Past the Vive Tracker field right here, one other current instance is Vive Arts, the corporate’s effort to stake a declare within the NFT artwork scene.
Thus far HTC has not formally introduced the Vive Tracker field past the teaser photograph—so we nonetheless don’t have particulars like when it can launch, how will probably be priced, or what particular options it can have—although we count on these particulars to come back quickly.
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