“No Phone. No PC. Standalone VR.”
This is the tagline accompanying the shadowy image of a brand new virtual reality headset that was unveiled today from the manufacturers of the popular Vive VR system: HTC.
At Google IO, Google’s VP of VR Clay Bavor announced that the Silicon Valley Juggernaut will be partnering with a myriad of different OEM partners to create a new line of “standalone” VR headsets. One of these partners is HTC.
Details of the new headset are very bare bones right now. What we do know is that the new headset will use a new inside-out positional tracking technology known as Worldsense. Worldsense combines a lot of Google’s machine learning, computer vision and SLAM research into a new form of tracking that uses finely tuned reference points to determine your position in 3D space.
The new headset will be releasing from HTC “later this year.”
According to a blog post published today, “more information on Vive’s standalone VR headset will be made available soon, but rest assured it will be simple, easy-to-use and with no cables to connect. Just pick it up, put it on and be fully immersed in your new reality.”
— HTC VIVE (@htcvive) May 17, 2017
We will update this post as more information becomes apparent.
Update: The specifics of the Google Worldsense tracking system are unclear at the moment. What we do know is that the reference design was developed in partnership with Qualcomm and will allow users to “Lean, dodge and duck,” as they wish.
The word “walk” is noticeably missing from that list. What remains unclear is whether or not Worldsense is capable of providing room-scale VR experiences that let you take steps in any direction and turn around in 360 degrees. The sketch design for this headset also shows what appears to be a Google Daydream View remote controller.
This controller can only move with six degrees of freedom, not the six degrees of freedom that makes the Vive such a compelling system for many VR customers.
We will bring you more details on the exact specifications of the new Google/HTC headset as soon as the are made known.
Update 2: Clay Bavor has just confirmed to us that Worldsense does indeed use the 3 DOF controller. This strongly indicates that this HTC headset will be 3 DOF as well.