Bring Your Cat Into VR With This Awesome Add-On

by Jamie Feltham • March 16th, 2017

If you own a cat/dog/baby and an HTC Vive then you’re probably familiar with this scene. You’re playing your favorite room-scale game with all of your chairs, desks and other items cleared out of the way. You have a free space to run around in and forget about the real world, moving into the virtual one. Except all of a sudden you stumble and kick something soft. Something that moves. Something that runs away.

Then comes the guilt.

I’ve accidentally kicked my cats in VR more times than I care to count and each time it weighs heavy on my soul. That’s why I wrote about why I’d want to stick the new Vive Tracker on my pets when it releases later this year. Unseen Diplomacy developer Triangular Pixels has been thinking along the same lines, only it’s got its hands on one of the Tracker development kits and is already working on a real solution.

Yesterday the team’s Katie Goode posted up images of a modified cat jacket that sported the Tracker, worn by the developer’s 10 year old feline.

SONY DSC

Work on this project has only just started, but the idea is to alert VR users to when their pets or children are in the room by bringing them up within the given experience. That way you can say goodbye to any surprising collisions with friendly pets. We’d love to see this open sourced so that any developer could include it in their VR experience and the virtual world becomes a bit safer for our furry friends.

Goode clarifies that the Tracker is light and the jacket is a comfortable fit, thus isn’t causing her cat any distress.

I can’t help but wonder if I could pick my cat up and use it as a flamethrower in VR, but PETA might have something to say about that.

This is actually something Triangular Pixels has been thinking about for a while, long before the Tracker was announced. In fact the team even submitted its own idea for a tracked-collar for the cats for a Viveport competition last year.

It’s early days for the project, then, but we’ll keep our eyes on it. The Vive Tracker itself is shipping out to select devs now for free and will be available at $99.99 later in the year.

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  • Ahahahahah the tracker as flamethrower can be an interesting game weapon!

  • Scott C

    And this is the kind of thing I keep hoping Oculus plans for future iterations on Constellation. If they can nail Kinect-style depth-sensing cameras and moving object recognition, this kind of thing could be done without shelling out $100 (plus whatever the jacket would sell for) per pet.

    • Full Name

      Yeah and they can catch and livestream people masturbating from 3 angles or even model you real-time so you can check it from all angles. Great! 😉

    • JustNiz

      Yeah Oculus are definately falling even further behind. They need to innovate or die.

  • Char Feld

    I’ve heard that some cats and dogs love watching tv. I bet they’d really love VR if someone invented little doggy vr googles.

  • mirak

    Now you can finally kick a virtual car for real.

  • unreal_ed

    My problem is that i don’t see myself seeing the cat even if he’s tracked. You’re not often looking at your feet in VR games, and cats are tiny. Big dogs should work.

    And then there’s the question of who’s gonna buy a $100 accessory + a specialized vest just to track them. And that’s PER pets they own (I know lots of people with several cats/dogs). And even if you had them, having to find your cat, the vest, the tracker and put it on the cat would take so much time i cant imagine people would bother doing it most of the time. It’s neat, but really seems like its barely a solution to me.

  • MauiJerry

    My wife’s first experience with the Vive included the workshop with the robo-dog. After throwing sticks for it a bit, she started exploring other parts… which is when our cat walked into the demo space and started rubbing up against her leg. Freak Out!