Tundra Tracker Aims for Cheaper Alternative to Vive Tracker

Tundra Labs, which makes chips and growth kits for units which use SteamVR Monitoring, is constructing its personal monitoring accent for the monitoring ecosystem. The corporate is positioning its Tundra Tracker as a smaller, cheaper, and higher different to HTC’s Vive Tracker. A Kickstarter marketing campaign to fund the mission and collect suggestions is deliberate for subsequent month.

The Open SteamVR Monitoring Ecosystem

Tundra Tracker Goals for Cheaper Various to Vive Tracker 12SteamVR Monitoring Base Stations

Valve’s SteamVR Monitoring is an open monitoring system which permits any third occasion to construct units that are tracked by SteamVR Base Stations. Valve’s personal Index headset, together with third-party headsets from corporations like HTC and Pimax, make use of the shared system for prime quality room-scale monitoring. The versatile system permits customers to combine and match units (like having the ability to use an Index headset with Vive wand controllers), and in addition permits extra units to be added into the combination—like HTC’s Vive Tracker, which is a general-purpose SteamVR Monitoring machine that may be connected to issues like props or limbs to trace these objects in VR.

As the one consumer-available machine of its variety, the Vive Tracker has grow to be the defacto basic objective tracker for the SteamVR Monitoring ecosystem. It’s generally used to enhance VR movement seize by attaching to a consumer’s ft and hips, thus offering six factors of physique monitoring (head, fingers, waist, and ft) reasonably than the same old three (head and fingers). This permits the actions of gamers to be captured and represented extra precisely, giving VR avatars an impressively big selection of movement.

Pleasant Competitors

Tundra Tracker Goals for Cheaper Various to Vive Tracker 13Picture courtesy Tundra Labs

Because the defacto selection, comparisons to the Vive Tracker are inevitable; Tundra Labs founder Luke Beno says the Tundra Tracker will greatest the incumbent in a number of methods.

Particularly the machine is predicted to be “60% smaller, eat about 50% much less energy, weight 50% much less, and have twice the battery life,” in comparison with the Vive Tracker, he tells Highway to VR. Beno additionally plans to ship the Tundra Tracker at a barely decrease price than the $100 Vive Tracker, together with extra reductions for tracker bundles.

However the Tundra Tracker isn’t purely a competitor, it could additionally work in tandem with the Vive Tracker, permitting customers who’ve already invested in Vive Trackers to enhance their monitoring setup with no need to fully swap from one tracker to the opposite.

In actual fact, customers will be capable of pair Vive Trackers, Tundra Trackers, and even Index controllers to the Tundra Tracker’s USB dongle. “It’s the gorgeous nature of SteamVR’s open ecosystem,” Beno says.

Placement & Mounting Choices

Tundra Tracker Goals for Cheaper Various to Vive Tracker 14Picture courtesy Tundra Labs

With its decreased measurement and weight, Beno says the Tundra Tracker can even supply extra versatile placement choices.

“The tracker form can be designed to slot in locations that Vive Tracker can not. The default baseplate has two loops the place a consumer can thread although a strap or shoe laces. I’m additionally contemplating integrating magnets into the bottom in order that it could snap onto a steel plate that may be embedded or sewn into clothes.”

Tundra Tracker Goals for Cheaper Various to Vive Tracker 15Picture courtesy Tundra Labs

Tundra Labs can be contemplating different base plates for various functions, however is ready to lock down the choices till gathering suggestions from potential clients. “I’d prefer to kind of ‘crowd supply’ concepts [for the tracker’s mounting options] such that it’s not a ‘one measurement matches all’ resolution like Vive Tracker,” he says.

Tundra Tracker Kickstarter

Tundra Tracker Goals for Cheaper Various to Vive Tracker 16Picture courtesy Tundra Labs

To that finish, Tundra Labs will run a Kickstarter marketing campaign for the Tundra Tracker, which is deliberate to begin in January with models delivery later within the yr.

Whereas the Kickstarter particulars are nonetheless being finalized, Beno tells Highway to VR that Tundra Labs can even supply ‘multi-port dongles’ by way of the Kickstarter, which is able to enable customers to pair a number of trackers (Tundra Trackers or Vive Trackers) utilizing a single USB connection.

The plan is to supply multi-port dongles able to pairing as much as three, 5, or seven trackers, respectively. They can even be sufficiently small to suit into the opening within the entrance of the Valve Index headset (AKA the ‘frunk’), which might make sure the dongles keep near the trackers for a robust connection.

Past the patron Tundra Tracker and the multi-port dongle, Beno says the Kickstarter can even supply a ‘Dev Version’ tracker which features a “very complete growth connector,” which might be utilized by different corporations to construct practical, tracked equipment like VR weapons, gloves, and extra.

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The Tundra Tracker represents a rising checklist of units and use-cases enabled by Valve’s open SteamVR Monitoring system, from high-end headsets and third-party controllers to styli and programming of commercial robots.

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