- The new HTC Vive Pro Eye virtual reality headset features eye-tracking technology.
- With eye-tracking, users will not need a controller for specific tasks, using eye movements instead to navigate the VR world.
- The company also launched the HTC Vive Cosmos, a simpler and easier headset for people just entering the VR ecosystem.
Today, at CES 2019, HTC took the stage to launch several new products and upgrades in its popular Vive virtual reality division.
The most notable product announcement is the HTC Vive Pro Eye (shown below), an upgraded version of its popular Vive Pro. The Vive Pro Eye’s standout feature is eye-tracking technology which will offer numerous benefits to VR gamers as well as enterprise customers.
Since the Vive Pro Eye will track eye movements, it can optimize the virtual world in reaction to a user’s focus. In other words, if the user is looking straight ahead, there’s no reason to have the periphery in focus and rendering at full speed. Instead, the Vive Pro Eye will blur those sections of the image, saving processing power. HTC refers to this technique as “foveated rendering.”
Eye tracking can also be used in place of handheld controllers. A new VR baseball game called MLB Home Run Derby VR is played only using eye movements to navigate menus and perform in-game functions.
Additionally, enterprise customers can use eye tracking to better train and evaluate users. For example, the VR software Lockheed Martin uses to train new pilots will use eye tracking to examine reaction times and focus.
HTC also launched another new headset today, the HTC Vive Cosmos (shown below). Unlike the HTC Vive Pro, the Vive Cosmos features a simpler setup, removing the need for an external base station and including the ability to attach to a wider range of PCs. The Vive Cosmos will not feature eye tracking and will rely on handheld controllers.
“We found that over 85 percent of VR intenders believe that ease of use and set up is the most important factor to consider while purchasing a headset,” said Daniel O’Brien, general manager of HTC Vive in the Americas. “We believe Cosmos will make VR more easily accessible to those who may not have invested in VR before and also be a superior experience for VR enthusiasts.”
Finally, HTC also announced an exciting update for members of the Viveport subscription service: starting on Vive Day, April 5, 2019, Viveport will move to an unlimited subscription model known as Viveport Infinity. This will allow members to download and play any of the 500+ titles in the Viveport Infinity library with no restrictions.
Both the HTC Vive Pro Eye and the HTC Vive Cosmos will be available later in 2019. HTC did not disclose pricing for any of these new announcements.