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HTC unveils Vive wrist tracker and software updates for Focus 3

HTC has announced a new VIVE wrist tracker for its VIVE Focus 3 VR headset. The tracker looks a lot like a bulky fitness band and captures orientation and movement from the wrist to the elbow. The tracker can also be attached to inanimate objects to track them in 3D space.

It has a one-button pairing feature to connect wirelessly to the Focus 3 headset. Users can expect around four hours of battery life with USB-C charging, and a battery status indicator LED.

The wrist tracker costs $129 and will launch in the first quarter of 2022. Much like the Focus 3 and the Vive tracker, it’s designed for experiences specifically designed to take advantage of the wrist tracker’s capabilities instead of a more generic consumer-based approach.

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Track hands, objects, whatever you want

The tracker works similar to the Focus 3’s controllers. LEDs on the wrist controller are picked up by the headset’s tracking cameras for standalone tracking. In case the tracking cameras can’t see the band, the tracker itself can predict the pose.

Vive’s new wrist tracker | Source: HTC

This implementation means that the tracker is easy to capture even when out of the headset’s line of sight. Additionally, it can attach to inanimate objects and track add further value to the proposition. Vive also says that it’ll release CAD files for mounting the tracker onto objects for people to design their mounts as well as for building their docking solutions and harnesses.

Vive’s wrist tracker can also track inanimate objects. | Source: HTC

Furthermore, the company created an off-the-shelf design for developers to create their accessories for attaching to and tracking different objects using a 3dof sensor. 

New accessories announced for the Focus 3

In addition to announcing the wrist tracker, Vive has also announced a charging case for the Focus 3 that can carry one headset and two connected controllers, doubling up as a docking and charging station when you’re not travelling with the case.

Since the Focus 3 is also one of the few VR headsets on the market with a swappable battery, Vive also unveiled a charging dock that can charge up to four batteries simultaneously at full speed. The dock is paired with a 120W charging adaptor to ensure full charging power to each battery. 


Software updates for the Focus 3 

The company has announced that they’re conducting private betas for OpenXR on the Focus, with certification submission due in the coming weeks. This will let developers deploy OpenXR-compliant apps to many devices and even upload OpenXR versions of their content directly to VivePort.

WiFI 6E support is also coming to the Focus 3 in the US, UK and Germany. Vive will roll out support for more countries as they open up their local 6GHz spectrum for WiFI 6E usage.

Hand tracking on the Focus 3 using Vive’s wrist tracker | Source: HTC

2D Android apps can now be sideloaded to the Focus 3 using APKs and can be interacted with controllers, hands or raycast touch interactions. Lastly, as of the latest Focus 3, hand tracking is now enabled by default on the headset. 

5G wireless experiences coming to the Focus 3 

HTC also announced the launch of a “portable, private 5G experience” for its Focus 3 headset in partnership with Lumen Technologies. While the application itself runs on the Focus 3 headset, it offloads the data processing to a remote computer and streams it back over a 5G network powered by Lumen. 

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