The Vive Focus 3 from HTC is getting new add-ons that’ll allow for face and eye-tracking.
In the lead up to Meta Connect in October, Meta’s big extravaganza where it reveals a bunch of its new products (including the incoming Meta Quest Pro), HTC has revealed several new add-ons for its Vive Focus 3 headset, which will offer similar experiences to what we’re expecting from Meta.
Face and eye-tracking headline the shopping list for Meta’s new headset, features that Zuck thinks will help people feel “present with each other”. Of course, keep in mind that these features will be limited to the apps that support them, which are currently not that common, however, Meta’s own Horizon Worlds has the tech.
Now, HTC has gotten in on the tech with the Vive Focus 3, HTC’s closest rival to the Meta Quest 2 (though much more powerful).
These add-ons are easily slotted into the headset, with 60hz tracking of your eye and facial movements across your eyes, lips, jaw, cheeks, chin, teeth and tongue. They attach through the USB-C port on the headset and mount comfortably to the device.
Keep in mind that these aren’t available on the HTC Vive Pro 2, which we reviewed last month.
Here’s how the eye-tracker slots in:
And here’s the face-tracker, which just plugs into the available USB-C port below the headset:
Here’s another view, showing where each component slots in:
Of course, they’re two separate devices. The facial-tracker, as you can expect, only tracks facial movements, and the eye-tracker only tracks eye movements, like blinking and eye twitches.
Vive says in its press release that they’re perfect for “virtual events, training, chat groups, Vive Sync remote meetings, animation and motion capture”, but again, we’ll stress that not many VR games actually support this functionality.
Face and eye-tracking on the Focus 3 supports Unity, Unreal and Native, along with WaveSDK and OpenXR. These are development applications, not games.
That being said, with the two heavyweights of the VR industry going in on face and eye-tracking (Meta and HTC), we’re bound to see games pick up the tech in the future. For example, VR Chat, arguably the most successful VR game in the world, added facial-tracking in February.
The Vive Focus 3 facial-tracker will cost $199 and the eye-tracker will cost $469 in Australia, set to be available from the Australian Vive website in the coming days. These aren’t exactly affordable prices, so these add-ons are more oriented towards enthusiasts.
You can buy the Vive Focus 3 for $1,999 in Australia.
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