HTC lending out 1,000 Vive Tracker units to qualified developers, creators

HTC is now accepting applications from developers and the creative community to receive a Vive Tracker. The window to apply closes on February 7, giving applicants two weeks to explain why they should be chosen to receive one of the initial units. There will be 1,000 Vive Tracker units handed out, enabling developers and creative individuals to imagine new ways of combining virtual reality with physical objects.

“Ready to debut a new product in VR? Want to create an API to track a pet (or your coffee table) within the VR world? Want to track a keyboard in VR? Tell us how and why,” the company states. “Remember, the Vive Tracker will integrate with any number of future VR accessories and tools, so we’re looking for new thinking that keeps VR open, fun, functional, future-looking, and maybe even a little weird.”

The Vive Tracker is an accessory for virtual reality content creation. It connects wirelessly to the HTC Vive headset and weighs less than three ounces, enabling the device to easily attach to existing physical objects or interesting new form factors. The Vive Tracker seemingly eliminates the need to spend loads of time and money integrating tracking sensors into VR-focused peripherals.

The tracking device measures 3.92 by 1.66 inches and includes a USB interface for adding additional hardware like the Raspberry Pi board, or a DSLR camera for blending the real world with the virtual one. Some of the applications presented during the Vive Tracker reveal a few weeks ago included haptic gloves for VR, the first VR-dedicated camera, and more.

That said, interactive design and production studio Dotdotdash was one of the first developers selected to use the Vive Tracker. The company thus created the very first camera accessory for VR, enabling users to take physical photographs of their virtual reality experiences. The camera includes multiple overlays and tooltips that do not exist in the physical unit, such as changing the zoom and adjusting the filtering effects.

The Vive Tracker doesn’t ship until the second quarter of 2017, but HTC is calling on the developer and creative communities now to be one of the first to use the device for free. The company wants users to help the world “rethink VR,” and to prove that the “possibilities are endless.” However, the catch is that, according to the application, HTC is allowing developers to borrow a unit at no cost.

“We are lending a limited number of Trackers to developers for free,” the application states. “Companies providing more detail in their application with clear goals on how they plan to use Tracker will have a higher chance to receive one of the developer kits. HTC Vive reserves the right to recall the Vive Trackers at our discretion.”

Applicants are required to specify a company, to describe said company, and describe the project that will utilize the Vive Tracker. Applicants can also attach a link to a downloadable demo/prototype and a target release date, but that information isn’t necessary to submit the application but it could help.

The HTC Vive headset is reportedly outselling the Oculus Rift partially due to its open-platform roots. It’s powered by Valve Software’s SteamVR platform and is compatible with the Steam digital market. The HTC Vive system costs $800 and comes with the headset, two motion tracking controllers, two base stations, and earbuds.

Product Review

Nintendo’s Labo VR Kit may look silly, but it really works

During our hands-on with the Nintendo Labo VR Kit, fears of a gimmicky product from Nintendo were quickly dispelled. While not a direct competitor to Oculus or HTCs own headsets, Labo VR brings a clever, new way to experience VR that makes…
Virtual Reality

HTC’s stand-alone Vive Focus Plus will be out in April, and it won’t be cheap

The HTC Vive Focus Plus is set to release on April 15 to commercial businesses and developers. The stand-alone headset features the "six degrees of freedom" system, and includes hazard-tracking protection.

Oculus shows off the Rift S, plans to phase out its original VR headset

Oculus plans to phase out its flagship Rift VR headset for its newly created Rift S. The Rift S made its debut this week at the 2019 Game Developers Conference and is expected to be released in spring 2019.
Emerging Tech

Researchers gave alligators headphones and ketamine, and all for a good cause

Researchers in Germany and the United States recently gave ketamine and earphones to alligators to monitor how they process sounds. Here's what it reveals about alligator evolution.

Keep your laptop battery in tip-top condition with these handy tips

Learn how to care for your laptop's battery, how it works, and what you can do to make sure yours last for years and retains its charge. Check out our handy guide for valuable tips, no matter what type of laptop you have.

Is it worth spending more for the Surface Pro, or is the Surface Go good enough?

The Surface Go vs. Surface Pro — which is better? While the higher price tag of one might make you think it's an easy choice, a deeper dive into what each offers makes it a closer race than you might assume.

Hands-on with Microsoft Chromium Edge: A first look at the early release

We installed a preview of Edge Chromium, and there's now a lot that makes it feel Chrome, but there are also some similarities to the old Edge. So, is the new Chromium Edge the best browser ever? Here's a hands-on look.

Amazon sale knocks $200 off the price of 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

If you always wanted to buy a MacBook Pro but found it a bit too expensive, now is your chance to save. A base version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is currently on sale at Amazon for $1,600.

Apple’s 4K 21.5-inch iMac is now $200 off if you pre-order it

Apple's new iMacs are now available and if you pre-order one from B&H you can get the midrange version for $200. That's a near 20-percent saving on one of the most competitive configurations.
Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s latest breakthrough could make DNA-based data centers possible

Could tomorrow's data centers possibly store information in the form of synthetic DNA? Researchers from Microsoft have successfully encoded the word "hello" into DNA and then back again.

Own an Asus computer? Malware might be hiding in your system

If you own an Asus computer, your system might have been infected by malware distributed from the tool you typically use to update the BIOS and install other security patches, according to a new report by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab.

The new Windows 10 File Explorer could look like this in 2020

Microsoft may update Windows 10's File Explorer to adopt Fluent Design principles in an upcoming 2020 update. A report suggests that we'll get our first glimpse at the new-look explorer in upcoming Windows Insider builds.

DisplayPort and HDMI both connect to screens, but here's how they're different

HDMI and DisplayPort are two of the most popular connectors for hooking up consoles, gaming PCs, TVs, and monitors, but which is best? To find out, we pitted HDMI vs. DisplayPort and compared their best and worst features.

Get a new 2018 Apple MacBook Air for $1,000 with Amazon’s latest sale

Online retailer Amazon is currently running a discount on select models of the MacBook Air 2018. You can bring one home starting at $1,000, a full $200 off the usual selling price.