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HTC Vive
Vive pre.jpeg
An HTC Vive head-mounted display with a camera near the bottom rim; two wireless handheld controllers; and two 'Lighthouse' basestations
Type Virtual reality headset for room scale virtual reality
Release date 5 April 2016
Manufacturer HTC, with technology by Valve Corporation
Display technology PenTile[1] OLED
Resolution 2160×1200 (1080×1200 per eye)[2]
Refresh rate 90 Hz[2]
Field of view (Nominal) About 110 degrees[3]
Tracking system Lighthouse (2 base stations emitting pulsed IR lasers)
Input Video/data/Bluetooth
Weight 470 grams (previously 555 grams)
Platform/operating system SteamVR running on Microsoft Windows in addition to Linux support, with macOS support coming[4]
Connection HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 and 1× USB 3.0
Website www.vive.com
Introductory price US$799/£769.99
Sound
  • 3.5 mm audio jack for headphones
  • Built-in microphone
  • Headphones will be sold separately from June 2017[5]
Controller input SteamVR wireless motion tracked controllers
Camera Front-facing camera - enabling users to view the external world and a key component of the device’s 'chaperone' safety system.

The HTC Vive is a virtual reality headset developed by HTC and Valve Corporation. The headset uses "room scale" tracking technology, allowing the user to move in 3D space and use motion-tracked handheld controllers to interact with the environment.[6]

The HTC Vive was unveiled during HTC's Mobile World Congress keynote in March 2015. Development kits were sent out in August and September 2015, and the first Consumer version of the device was released on April 5th, 2016.

Development[edit]

Prototypes of a Valve-produced virtual reality system were demonstrated during 2014. On 23 February 2015, Valve announced SteamVR and that it would demonstrate a "SteamVR hardware system" at the 2015 Game Developers Conference.[7][8][9] HTC officially unveiled its device, Vive, during its Mobile World Congress keynote on 1 March 2015.[6] Preorders started on 29 February 2016 at 10:00 a.m. EST.[10] Valve and HTC have since announced that the headset will be free for selected developers.[11]

At Consumer Electronics Show 2016, HTC and Valve unveiled a near-final hardware revision of the device, known as HTC Vive Pre.[12]

History[edit]

During his Immersed 2015 keynote, Phil Chen, Chief Content Officer for HTC and Founder of the HTC Vive explained that he "stumbled upon VR" and later HTC met Valve, which turned out to be "serendipity".[13] Chen also explained that HTC and Valve don't have a clear dividing line between each of their responsibilities, and HTC is very much a partner in the research and development process.[14]

In June 2016, HTC announced the release of their 'Business Edition' of the Vive for $1,200 USD which would include a Professional Use License, a 12-month Commercial Warranty, access to an exclusive support line, a 16-foot cable extension kit, and it included the Deluxe Audio Strap.[15][16]

In November 2016, HTC announced a tether-less VR upgrade kit made by TPCAST. A public model was shown at CES 2017 and had a price of $249.[17][18]

At Google I/O in May 2017, Google announced a new, all in-built 'Standalone VR' system that would be made by the Vive team and also by Lenovo.[19] Whilst in June 2017 Valve revealed details of a second variation of Vive controller which utilizes finger tracking called the Knuckles Vive controller.[20]

Hardware and accessories[edit]

  • Vive Headset: The Vive headset has a refresh rate of 90 Hz and a 110 degree field of view. The device uses two OLED panels, one per eye, each having a display resolution of 1080×1200 (2160×1200 combined pixels).[21] Safety features include a front-facing camera that allows the user to observe their surroundings without removing their headset. The software can also use the camera to identify any moving or static objects in a room; this functionality can be used as part of a "Chaperone" safety system, which will automatically display a virtual wall or a feed from the camera to safely guide users from obstacles or real-world walls.[12][22] Inside the headset's outer-shell divots are dozens of infrared sensors that detect the base stations' IR pulses to determine the head set's current location in a space.[23] Other sensors include a G-Sensor, gyroscope and proximity sensor.[24]
  • Vive Controllers: The controllers have multiple input methods including a track pad, grip buttons, and a dual-stage trigger and a use per charge of about 6 hours.[25] Across the ring of the controller are 24 infrared sensors that detect the base stations to determine the location of the controller.[26] The SteamVR Tracking system is used to track the controller location to a fraction of a millimeter, with update rates ranging from 250Hz to 1kHz. [27]
  • Vive Base Stations: Also known as the Lighthouse tracking system are two black boxes that create a 360 degree virtual space up to 15x15 foot radius. The base stations emit timed infrared pulses at 60 pulses per second that are then picked up by the headset and controllers with sub-millimeter precision.[28] Wireless syncing lowers the amount of wires as well standard threading making the base stations practical to use in a home. [29]
  • Vive Tracker: A motion tracking accessory; it is designed to be attached to physical accessories and controllers, so that they can be tracked via the Lighthouse system. Vive Trackers feature a connector that can be used to communicate with the accessory it is attached to. On launch, the Vive Tracker was sold as a standalone product, and in bundles with accessories and games designed to integrate with it, such as the Hyper Blaster (a light gun-style controller), and a racquet designed for sports games. Other third-party accessories have been developed for use with Vive Trackers, such as bands designed to be attached to a user's arms or legs to enable body tracking.[30][31][32]
  • Vive Deluxe Audio Strap: In June 2017, HTC released the Deluxe Audio Strap for $99 USD. It added integrated over-ear headphones as well as improved the HMD's comfort through better weight distribution.[33][34]

The Vive initially required computers running Microsoft Windows. In February 2017, support was added for Linux,[35] followed by support for MacOS in June 2017.[36]

Games[edit]

By March 2016, the time at which the pre-orders for the HTC Vive opened, 107 games were known to be coming to the virtual reality format.[37]

In February 2017 Valve CEO Gabe Newell announced via Reddit AMA 'ask me anything' session Valve is developing three AAA VR IPs alongside the forthcoming "Knuckles" controllers.

An open source program called Revive allows for Oculus Rift games to be used with an HTC Vive.[38]

Adoption[edit]

An unmounted development unit.

Valve released its OpenVR software development kit (SDK), an updated version of its Steamworks VR API with documentation and examples of how to build software that supports SteamVR hardware.[39][40] It provides support for the HTC Vive Developer Edition, including the SteamVR controller and Lighthouse.[41]

SteamVR was launched with native support for Unity on its platform.[42]

On 30 April 2015, Epic Games announced support for Valve's SteamVR technology, allowing developers to create VR projects with Unreal Engine 4 for the HTC Vive.[43][44] Epic said that SteamVR is completely integrated into Unreal Engine 4 across Blueprint visual scripting and native code, meaning projects can be built without being dependent on programmer support if needed.[45] Epic's own Showdown tech demo can already be experienced on SteamVR using the Vive headset.[46][47]

In July 2016, VR news website Road to VR used game session figures from the Steam VR platform to estimate that approximately 100,000 Vive headsets had been shipped since launch.[48] In the same month, SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI), a computer vision company, integrated its eye tracking technology in the HTC Vive to turn it into a dedicated eye tracking solution for research and professional applications.[49][50] In November 2016, Vive announced that it would begin the first retail sales of its headsets at JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman stores in Australia later that month.[51]

On 23 November 2016, HTC announced that the Vive was sold at a profit and that HTC Vive sales were "much higher" than 140,000.[52]

Vive Pro[edit]

On 8 January 2018, HTC unveiled an upgraded Vive model known as HTC Vive Pro. It features higher-resolution displays, now at 1400x1600 resolution per-eye, along with a second outward-facing camera, attachable headphones, a microphone for noise cancellation analysis and a refreshed design with a more "balanced" form, lighter weight, and a sizing dial. The Vive Pro uses USB-C connectors instead of USB-A. The Vive Pro will be sold alongside the original as a high-end model; it will be sold in headset-only and full bundles. The Vive Pro supports all existing Vive accessories, as well as the as of yet unreleased upgraded versions of the base stations compliant with SteamVR Tracking 2.0 specifications (which support a space up to 10m x 10m in size).[53][54][55]

On 5 April 2018, HTC started selling a Vive Pro bundle that included a Vive Pro and the original 1.0 base stations, as well as controllers.[56]

On 23 April 2018, HTC started selling a Vive Pro bundle that included a Vive Pro and the new 2.0 base stations, as well as controllers.[57]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hutchinson, Lee (22 March 2016). "Ask Ars: I can't choose between Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR!". Ars Technica. Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "HTC Re Vive". 
  3. ^ "Advanced VR Rendering, Alex Vlachos, Valve" (PDF). 
  4. ^ Machkovech, Sam (5 June 2017). "SteamVR is coming to Mac—and Apple says it will actually work". Ars Technica. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  5. ^ http://www.pcgamer.com/htcs-deluxe-audio-strap-is-a-huge-improvement-over-the-vives-elastic-straps/
  6. ^ a b "Valve's VR headset is called the Vive and it's made by HTC". The Verge. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Valve is making a VR headset and its own Steam Machine". Engadget. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Valve showing off new virtual reality hardware and updated Steam controller next week". The Verge. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  9. ^ "Valve's VR headset revealed with Oculus-like features". The Verge. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  10. ^ "HTC Vive pre-orders to start on February 29". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  11. ^ "Valve, HTC Offering Free Vive VR to Developers". The Verge. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  12. ^ a b "HTC Vive Pre impressions: A great VR system has only gotten better". Ars Technica. Retrieved 28 January 2016. 
  13. ^ Neil Schneider (8 October 2015). MTBS-TV: Conversing With Phil Chen, Chief Content Officer, HTC. Event occurs at 11m55s – via YouTube. 
  14. ^ Neil Schneider (8 October 2015). MTBS-TV: Conversing With Phil Chen, Chief Content Officer, HTC. Event occurs at 16m46s – via YouTube. 
  15. ^ Hayden, Scott (2016-06-09). "HTC Announces Vive 'Business Edition' for $1200 – Road to VR". Road to VR. Retrieved 2017-12-19. 
  16. ^ "VIVE | Business Edition and Commercial VR". www.vive.com. Retrieved 2017-12-19. 
  17. ^ "Hands-on: TPCAST's Wireless Vive Kit Really Works". UploadVR. 2016-12-19. Retrieved 2017-02-24. 
  18. ^ Byford, Sam. "HTC's wireless Vive add-on actually works". The Verge. Retrieved 2017-02-24. 
  19. ^ "Google Announces Standalone Headset to be Made by HTC and Lenovo". VRFocus. 2017-05-17. Retrieved 2017-05-17. 
  20. ^ "Valve Provides Details on Upcoming Knuckles Vive Controllers". VRFocus. 2017-06-22. Retrieved 2017-06-22. 
  21. ^ "Valve and HTC reveal Vive VR headset". GameSpot. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  22. ^ "HTC: Why Vive Will Beat Oculus VR at Its Own Game". Tom's Guide. Retrieved 18 July 2015. 
  23. ^ Buckley, Sean. "This Is How Valve's Amazing Lighthouse Tracking Technology Works". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2017-11-21. 
  24. ^ "VIVE™ | VIVE Virtual Reality System". www.vive.com. Retrieved 2017-11-21. 
  25. ^ "VIVE™ | VIVE Virtual Reality System". www.vive.com. Retrieved 2017-11-21. 
  26. ^ "Exploring the magic behind the HTC Vive controller". VRHeads. Retrieved 2017-11-21. 
  27. ^ "Welcome to Steamworks". partner.steamgames.com. Retrieved 2017-11-21. 
  28. ^ Lang, Ben (2017-04-13). "Latest HTC Vives Are Shipping with Tweaked Base Stations, Redesigned Packaging – Road to VR". Road to VR. Retrieved 2017-11-21. 
  29. ^ "VIVE™ | VIVE Virtual Reality System". www.vive.com. Retrieved 2017-11-21. 
  30. ^ "HTC launches Vive tracker bundles". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-01-09. 
  31. ^ "Everything you need to know about the Vive Tracker". VRHeads. Retrieved 2017-11-27. 
  32. ^ "HTC's Vive Tracker adds much-needed tactile control to VR". Engadget. Retrieved 2017-11-27. 
  33. ^ "HTC's Vive Deluxe Audio Strap is coming in June for $99.99". The Verge. Retrieved 2017-12-19. 
  34. ^ "VIVE™ | Vive Deluxe Audio Strap". www.vive.com. Retrieved 2017-12-19. 
  35. ^ "Valve launches SteamVR support for Linux". Engadget. Retrieved 2017-06-26. 
  36. ^ Machkovech, Sam (5 June 2017). "SteamVR is coming to Mac—and Apple says it will actually work". Ars Technica. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  37. ^ Stead, Chris (29 March 2015). "107 games revealed ahead of HTC Vive pre-order launch". Finder. Retrieved 29 February 2016. 
  38. ^ "Oculus Reverses DRM Course After Public Backlash". Techdirt. Retrieved 2017-02-24. 
  39. ^ Takahashi, Dean (30 April 2015). "Valve launches OpenVR dev kit for virtual reality hardware makers". VentureBeat. Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  40. ^ Wawro, Alex (30 April 2015). "Valve launches new OpenVR SDK to expand SteamVR development". Gamasutra. UBM plc. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  41. ^ Feltham, Jamie (1 May 2015). "Valve Launches OpenVR SDK". VRFocus. Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  42. ^ "Valve Is Bringing Native Unity Support To SteamVR". uploadvr. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  43. ^ Hall, Charlie (30 April 2015). "Now anyone can build for SteamVR with Epic's Unreal Engine 4". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  44. ^ Kastrenakes, Jacob; Robertson, Adi (30 April 2015). "Steam's virtual reality just got a boost from the maker of Unreal Tournament". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  45. ^ Cowley, Dana (30 April 2015). "Unreal Engine 4 Releases With SteamVR Support". Unreal Engine. Epic Games. Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  46. ^ Parrish, Kevin (30 April 2015). "Epic's Unreal Engine 4 Will Support Valve's SteamVR". Tom's Hardware. Purch. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  47. ^ Lang, Ben (30 April 2015). "HTC Vive-enabled Unreal Engine 4.8 Coming next Week, Devs Can Start Work with Rift DK2". Road To VR. Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  48. ^ Lang, Ben (4 July 2016). "HTC Vive Headset Nearing 100,000 Install Base, Steam Data Suggests". Road to VR. Retrieved 4 August 2016. 
  49. ^ Durbin, Joe (22 July 2016). "SMI Releases Eye Tracking Developer Kit For The HTC Vive". UploadVR. Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
  50. ^ Graham, Peter (22 July 2016). "SMI Reveals Eye Tracking Developer Kit for HTC Vive". VRFocus. Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
  51. ^ Bogle, Ariel (4 November 2016). "HTC Vive's virtual reality headset is opening stores in Australia". Mashable. Retrieved 4 November 2016. 
  52. ^ Lang, Ben (23 November 2016). "HTC Confirms Each Vive is Sold at Profit, "Much More" Than 140,000 Units in Sales". 
  53. ^ "Valve announces the first big SteamVR 2.0 feature: waaay more space". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2018-01-09. 
  54. ^ "A closer look at HTC's new higher-resolution Vive Pro". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-01-09. 
  55. ^ "HTC's Vive Pro will add more pixels to an otherwise familiar-looking VR system [Updated]". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2018-01-09. 
  56. ^ "$1,099 Vive Pro Starter Kit has everything you need for VR but the PC". Engadget. Retrieved 2018-05-10. 
  57. ^ Hayden, Scott (2018-04-23). "Vive Pro Bundle With 2.0 Base Stations & Controllers Now Available at $1400". Road to VR. Retrieved 2018-05-10. 

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