Valve is letting others build peripherals that are tracked by HTC Vive's lighthouses

by: John -
More On: Vive

The controller tracking on the HTC Vive is some of the most accurate available and Valve has talked about letting others create their own items to track. Well, third parties can now get into the action as Valve is opening that all up to folks with a royalty-free licensing of SteamVR Tracking.

What I want to really see is someone make a good golf club along with a VR golf game. Another would be some good gloves that can track individual fingers. Valve opening this up to third parties should make it a lot easier to achieve.

Valve's also hosting some sessions to get people started in making their own tracked devices. September 12-15 and September 21-23 will be the two sessions that you can sign up for. You'll need to pony up $3000 to take part and in the end you do get some dev kits to use in your own project.

All of this is great news and I can't wait to see what new tracking peripherals come out of this. We're still waiting on Oculus's hand tracked controllers, but we might see a good slew of them next year for the HTC Vive to compliment the ones that come with it already.

STEAM VR TRACKING NOW AVAILABLE TO 3RD PARTY HARDWARE MAKERS

August 4, 2016 -- Valve, creators of Steam, industry-leading virtual reality hardware and software, and several of the most popular online games on the Internet, today announces royalty-free licensing of SteamVR Tracking for 3rd-party hardware makers. 

This tracking technology enables hardware developers to build highly precise position and orientation sensing into devices of all kinds. It is the same tracking technology currently being used in the HTC Vive, the most advanced virtual reality product on the market today. Valve expects the technology to be used in a variety of devices, such as VR peripherals and other input devices.

In-person training is being offered to the first wave of licensees, to help each device maker become acquainted with the technology. Online training materials and documentation are planned for a future release.

"It's critical to the future of the Virtual Reality Ecosystem to open up the tracking technology to support the growth of a healthy portfolio of products that work together with HTC VIVE," said Raymond Pao, HTC VR Vice President. "This is an amazing way to compliment the HTC Vive and spur further innovation in VR.  We will also offer training in the Asia region in the coming months to support the adoption and licensing of SteamVR Tracking.  We're thrilled to see the world of tracked devices expanding and growing."

Alan Yates, Valve Engineer, said "Making this tracking technology available to more partners is an extremely important step in the evolution of virtual reality and 3D tracking. We are very confident that doing so will result in new and innovative experiences for all VR customers."

A hardware development kit including a reference tracked device, sensors, and software tools to help design and build new devices is being made available to each licensee. 

For details, including specific dates, Dev Kit contents, and the training curriculum, please visit http://steamvr.com/tracking/

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