HTC has an early Christmas present for VR developers.
The company this week opened applications for developer kits for its newly-announced six degree of freedom (6DOF) controllers for the Vive Focus standalone headset. Viveport President Rikard Steiber launched the applications during a talk at the 2018 XRDC conference. He also confirmed that the new controllers achieve 6DOF tracking with the use of ultrasound and IMU sensor fusion and that Focus can track horizontal movements of up to 180 degrees and vertical movements of up to 140 degrees, all from up to one meter away.
Successful applicants will be granted two 6DOF controllers and a tracking attachment for the Focus as well as the necessary software tools. We don’t know how wide shipping will go just yet (although the application does allow you to enter pretty much any country) nor when the kits will start to roll out. You’ll have to provide an outline of what you intend to do with the controllers and if you intend to publish your completed work on Viveport.
These controllers are a big curiosity right now, as they should technically bring the Focus up to the same level of capability as the Oculus Quest standalone headset, which launches next year. Focus is still due to launch in the west this year, but we’re expecting it to arrive with the 3DOF motion controller that’s been shipping with units in China. We don’t know how much it will cost (though the Chinese price comes to around $600), nor what kind of cost these controllers will add on top.