VIVE wants to free our hands by replacing the traditional VR controller with a simple bracelet.
The 2022 edition of CES is still in full swing. After two very busy days, which notably saw a succession of titans like Intel, ARM and Nvidia, today’s one promises to be a little quieter. It was Vive, the brand of the HTC Group, which led the way with its Vive Wrist Tracker, a VR tracker designed to work in tandem with the Vive Focus 3 headset.
The latter is a helmet that is a little different from other VIVE proposals. Unlike its alter ego designed for entertainment, the VIVE Pro 2, the Focus 3 is geared more towards professional applications. However, in this context, the user may regularly need to use his hands; standard VR controllers are therefore not always suitable for the working world.
However, without these controllers, it is impossible to transcribe the movements of the arms and the hand in the virtual world. As it stands, users are therefore forced to compromise. This is precisely the reason for this Wrist Tracker; it’s a different take on the VR controller which is worn around the wrist, like a plump bracelet. In practice, this gives an object much lighter and less bulky than a conventional VR controller.
As precise as a standard controller, really?
The underlying idea however remains the same, namely to follow the movements of the hand. It’s hard to imagine that it will be as precise as a standard Focus 3 controller, but that’s what VIVE claims. For this, the internal sensors will be accompanied by LEDs placed on the tracker; these will be tracked by the helmet cameras to obtain an even more precise position.
And when the tracker leaves the field of vision, another technology takes over. VIVE talks about an “advanced kinematic modeling” technique; this would make it possible to predict the position of the hands permanently from the sensor. Their exact location can therefore “always be anticipated” according to Vive, even when they leave the field of vision. On paper, this looks quite similar to spatial location technologies that already exist in the VR ecosystem, and it will be interesting to study the intricacies upon release.
To appreciate the exact differences, it will unfortunately be necessary to wait for the release of the machine. The VIVE Wrist Tracker will be released “early 2022”, first in the United States, then in Europe at a price of € 129. It will then be interesting to see if this system is as precise as advertised, and if the loss of quick access to the buttons will not be too disabling.