If you own an HTC Vive then you’re in luck, HTC has just announced that they are rolling out the Vive Trackers for consumer purchase. Previous to today’s release, the trackers were only available to VR developers, and now, they’re available to everyone!
Partial and Full Body Tracking
VR games like Final Soccer and Redfoot Bluefoot Dancing were early adopters of the Vive Trackers. Wearers who had attached the Rebuff Reality TrackStrap to their shoes or ankles had lower body tracking as they kicked soccer balls into a goal, or danced and burned tons of calories. Those that strapped them to their wrists had upper body tracking that created a true to life experience that rivaled blocking actual soccer balls and dancing.
The TrackStrap is now available for purchase, turning a gamer’s body into a virtual controller if it’s worn on one or both wrists, one tracker at the midsection, and two at the ankles. Currently, Vive is promoting full-body tracking of Redfoot Bluefoot Dancing and Audioshield, Island 359, and are expecting other developers to join in as well.
Tool and Object Tracking
The HTC Vive Trackers also serve as a way to transform everyday objects into interactive tools. Two Bit Circus, used a real baseball bat with a Vive Tracker attached to it to hit a pinata inside Pinata Party the VR game. This allowed their users to put down the controllers and trackpads and use a more realistic tool to swing and bust open the pinata instead. Securing a tracker to a real baseball bat boosted users’ sense of immersion, as actions done in reality became translated into the virtual world.
Previous to the tracker’s public release, we reported that devs began to attach Vive Trackers to 3D printed guns, plastic samurai swords, and on objects around the home that were a safety issue. Even beloved pets got fitted with their own Vive Tracker vests! Putting these trackers at strategic locations around a VR space, like a couch or fan, improved the user’s awareness of their surroundings and helped them feel and stay safe as they got a workout.
HTC Now Selling VR Accessories
You won’t have to 3D print your own VR gun or tennis racket anymore because the HTC Vive Trackers are getting add-on accessories. Come mid-December, HTC will start shipping out pre-orders to North America (sorry it’s not available internationally) for their Hyper Blaster gun and Racket Sports Set.
Hooking up the retro looking Hyper Blaster with a Vive Tracker will serve as a tracked motion controller and haptic gun you can use in VR. Originally designed for Duck Season, the developers have opened the floodgates to compatible games like Arizona Sunshine, Tactical AR, The American Dream VR, Operation Warcade, and Practisim VR. Although this may seem like slim pickin’s, Vive reports that there are 10 other developers who will be incorporating the gun in Q1 of 2018.
Take a Swing
Placing a tracker on the Racket Sports Set is an easy solution for VR users who are looking for a paddle or racket to use while playing games like tennis and ping pong. When the tracker is attached to the tennis racket, there is a huge potential for usage as a shield or other weapon in combat games. Just make sure to be careful where you’re swinging! Virtual ping pong or tennis might not be your jam, but there’s good news — there are 4 games, including HoloBall, that can be used with the tracker/racket combo right now, and there are 6 more expected by the end of 2017.
VR Fitness Potential
HTC Vive owners, VR gyms, and tech-friendly fitness trainers will find that attaching the HTC Vive Trackers on sports equipment, boxing gloves, or even dumbbells will help rekindle or spark a passion for working out and having fun. People who get bored easily by predictable or repetitive exercises will find that working out with a Tracker enabled Hyper Blaster, Racket Sports Set, and other accessories will spend more time playing VR games and coming back for more!
If you’ll be purchasing the HTC Vive Trackers, what is the first object and VR game you’ll use it on? Tell us below in the comments section!