HTC ‘Investigating’ Vive Wireless Adapter Heating Report

by David Jagneaux • October 8th, 2018

Over the weekend I saw on Twitter that Michael Jones, Founder of BrainFizz VR, a development studio working on a VR dating and matchmaking app called Electropop, posted that he received a burn on his scalp from using a new Vive Wireless Adapter for a standard HTC Vive. The burn resulted from spending an hour and a half playing Organ Quarter, a VR horror game, after which he noticed the burn on his scalp (pictured above).

Jones says in a follow-up tweet that he has a higher-than-usual pain tolerance from a lifetime of injuries and surgeries, would could help explain why he didn’t notice the pain at first. We reached out to HTC to ask if the standard Vive Wireless Adapter is supposed to come with a pad or safety divider of some kind and what the normally expected operating temperature of the device is expected to be. An HTC representative responded with the following statement:

“At Vive we take our users’ safety seriously. We are investigating the report as quickly as we can. We do not have further comment at this time.”

We checked the Vive website and there is no mention of the pad for the standard Vive Wireless Adapter when you go to checkout. The included items are listed as: “VIVE Wireless Adapter (for VIVE), battery, battery belt clip, USB cable, VIVE 3-in-1 short cable, PCI-e WiGig card, and wireless Link Box.” However, when you go to checkout with a Vive Wireless Adapter for a Vive Pro, the “Vive Pro Attachment Kit for Wireless Adapter” is added to your cart, which includes the “Pro clip for Wireless Adapter, foam cushion, and VIVE Pro short cable.”

On Twitter, Jones indicated in a follow-up tweet that his Vive Pro Wireless Adapter does include a pad, as mentioned by Mike from VR Oasis, but that the standard unit did not.

When you follow the official setup instructions on the Vive website, it separates attaching the adapter to the headset into three categories: Vive, Vive with Deluxe Audio Strap, and Vive Pro. Here is the section for the Vive Pro setup to show the included “foam cushion” installation, in which you must replace the Vive Pro’s headpad cushion:

After you do that, the Vive Wireless Adapter attaches to the headstrap and sits on top of the head cushion, as shown here:

This step is missing entirely from the standard Vive and Vive with Deluxe Audio Strap setup process. You can see in the clip below that for each of those versions of the headset, the Vive Wireless Adapter straps down onto the headband itself without a foam cushion.

As someone that has not tried the consumer version of the Vive Wireless Adapter I have no personal experience with the product yet, but based on pure observations, I wouldn’t have thought heat issues would be a concern. The pad seems thick enough that it wouldn’t cause a problem. Jones’ experience appears to refute that.

After receiving the burn, Jones created his own heatshield cushion to protect his scalp. After an hour and a half of play he didn’t have any issues while using his homemade cushion. In doing this follow up test, he also recorded temperature readings of the device itself. By the end of an hour and a half of use, the underside of the Vive Wireless Adapter had reached 40.5 degrees Celsius, or nearly 105 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s pretty hot for something that would be sitting almost directly on your scalp, unmoving, for over an hour.

HTC has requested that he send his entire headset and adapter back to them for testing, which seems to be in line with the statement we received from the company today. We currently have a Vive Wireless Adapter for a Vive Pro that we’re putting through the paces for review, but Ian Hamilton hasn’t noticed any issues nearing the case of Jones here. And yes, his Vive Pro kit did include the mentioned foam cushion.

What do you think of this information? Have you experienced any issues with the Vive Wireless Adapter yet? Let us know down in the comments below!

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