Hands on with HTC’s latest gadgets and VR experiences at CES 2017
HTC VR tracker is literally a game-changer
HTC have developed a new accessory – the VR tracker. The tracker is about the size of your palm, and is able to attach to anything. The technology in the tracker is the same in the headset, but this new accessory allows you to track objects as you interact in your VR world. For example, you can attach it to a baseball bat and accurately track your swing. One of the places we’re expecting to see this new tracker used the most is on one HTC’s other brand new releases…
HTC brings out the big guns
Gamers rejoice – HTC have finally brought VR shooting accessories to the playing field. Available in different sizes and types, the guns are light and incredibly intuitive to use. As soon as you pick one up you are instantly crouching and rolling to avoid the fire of your enemies. The new VR tracker accessory only enhances your gameplay experience.
New and improved HTC Headset
The HTC Vive hasn’t just added new accessories, its made developments to its existing ones. The new headset is equipped with a deluxe head strap. Senior Product Manager at HTC, Graham Breen, compared the fit of the headset to that of a cycling helmet: “The adjustable straps allow you to wear the headset for hours in complete comfort”. The integrated earphones are also completely adjustable for a secure fit.
VR experiences aren’t just for gaming
Although gaming has been the main focus for HTC with their Vive headset, experiences are quickly evolving. The Vive has been used to recreate real-life experiences - some for professional training and some for entertainment.
Training the emergency services
Trainee fire-fighters and medical professionals have been testing out other ways we can use VR. A fireman, for example, can train for an emergency by using a simulated experience with real fire-fighting equipment. In one of the VR world, a house is on fire and the firemen have to use their real hose (not turned on of course) to extinguish the “fire”. Special jackets have been created to make the experience as realistic as possible. Sensors in the jacket are triggered when the firemen get too close to the VR fire, causing the jacket to heat up. Doctors can also practice different types of surgeries on VR patients to help them prepare for procedures in future.
This ground breaking development in VR training is pushing the boundaries of what spaces VR can work in, an it’s easy to see how VR can bridge the gap between textbook learning and practical experience.
Climbing Everest and exploring the far shores
Senior Product Manager at HTC, Graham Breen, tells us: “VR allows us to engage in experiences we wouldn’t normally be able to in our everyday lives”. Using Google Earth with VR, users are able to explore different destinations, and even climb Everest using a special blend of real footage and simulated imagery projected in the headset.
The HTC Vive goes Wireless
One of the major gripes with VR headsets is that you need to be tethered to a computer. However, start up company, TPCast, have come up with a solution.
The company have managed to create wireless gameplay with just three components. A transmitter that sits in the room as you play intercepts information from the gameplay, and the receiver on the Vive headset then outputs that information into the headset – giving you the VR simulation without any wires to restrict you. A battery pack attached to the headset tucks into your pocket, so although the game isn’t completely wireless, you are no longer tethered to your laptop.
VR technology is advancing more rapidly as time moves on. Form entertainment to training and professional use, it’s incredible how much the technology we are exploring today will enrich the lives of tomorrow.
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