Recreating reality takes a boxful. With more than 20 pieces inside the box apart, the HTC Vive VR Headset is not like your other gadgets.
The 20 pieces that come with the standard HTC Vive VR Headset is actually the trimmed down version of the device. Unlike the demo versions released earlier, the consumer version has already trimmed down the number of wires and cables. The key components in the set are the headset with the audio and video support, controllers, and the base stations. To support these three are an array of sync cables, HDMI cables, USB cables, adapters, mounting kits and mounting pads and chargers.
With this many peripherals and with a fair number of applications that work with the VR suite requiring walking or some form of movement, users are expected to prepare ample space where they can set up the VR system.
In return for the 20 piece suite, Daniel O'Brien of HTC Vive VR offers "room-scale and you can actually move around in that content and have it all around you." The Room-Scale virtual reality set up consist of a laser tracking system which lets the user move around content and interact with the content. The laser tracking is implemented through two base stations that are placed at the corner of the room which coordinates movement from the headset and the controllers.
For safety, the HTC Vive VR also has "a chaperone system which keeps you safe, keeps you from bumping from other people." The chaperone system uses front facing cameras that are activated and show the world beyond virtual reality whenever the user faces physical obstacles such as walls, furniture, or other people.
The VR suite will start shipping May 2016 and retails for $799. The HTC Vive VR is a joint effort between HTC and Valve. Valve offers a suite of both gaming and non-gaming applications. The VR set is expected to be used not just by gamers looking for a new platform, but also by various industries ranging from automobile to medicine and from art to architecture. Surgical Theater, Autodesk, and Audi are all expected to use the VR system.
Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns| Flickr