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Valve will launch new HTC Vive Base Stations and tracking tech this year

Valve will launch new HTC Vive Base Stations and tracking tech this year

Valve will launch new HTC Vive Base Stations and tracking tech this year

Valve will launch new HTC Vive Base Stations and tracking tech this year

 
 
Valve will launch new HTC Vive Base Stations and SteamVR Tracking this year, with plans to reduce unit cost while maintaining the same levels of tracking precision.
 
Last year, Valve announced changes to their HTC Vive/SteamVR tracking system, which still works using the same technology but can be achieved using a custom integrated circuit to greatly reduce the system's component cost and simplify their manufacturing process. 
 

Now it has been confirmed that the company will be launching a new version of their "Lighthouse" Base Stations this year, which will use an improved design which focuses on reducing costs while offering the same levels of performance. 

The original HTC Vive base station uses two rotors to sweep lasers across a room in horizontal and vertical lines, these lasers are tracked by the HTC Vive headset and are then used to determine the location of the headset. We can see in the image below that Valve has moved to a single rotor design, which can produce two diagonal sweeps to deliver the same effect as the original dual motor design but with a significantly lower cost to manufacture. 

  

Valve will launch new HTC Vive Base Stations and tracking tech this year

 

Right now a standalone HTC Vive base Station costs $135 to purchase in the US, so such a radical design change will likely have a huge impact on the cost of future HTC Vive headsets. 

Valve engineer Ben Jackson states that these design changed will make the units more power-efficient, cost-effective and quieter. 

 

    What better way to make [the Base Station] lighter, quieter, cheaper, and more power-efficient,
than to chop out half the parts?

 

Valve will launch new HTC Vive Base Stations and tracking tech this year

 

Valve are currently working on second generation HTC Vive controllers, which will likely release with a new revision of the HTC Vive VR headset with these new cost-effective tracking and lighthouse systems, which could allow HTC to deliver a much more affordable version of their Vive headset. 

What stands in the way of the wide adoption of VR is the high cost of modern VR headsets, which can cost as much as the PCs that power them. Hopefully, these design changes will result in a cheaper version of the HTC Vive in the near future, as I am sure many people see the cost of modern VR headsets as too high to be accessible by most PC gamers. 

  
Valve will launch new HTC Vive Base Stations and tracking tech this year  

You can join the discussion on Valve's new HTC Vive Base Station design on the OC3D Forums

 

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