The ‘big technology breakthrough’ that led to the delay of Valve’s Vive VR headset is a front-facing camera.
Well, actually, it’s a little bit more than that. Revealed by hardware partner HTC at CES, the latest version of the peripheral, dubbed the ‘Vive Pre’, aims to counteract one of VR’s biggest challenges – separation from real life.
The new integrated camera is designed to allow users a peek back into their real-world surroundings. By pressing a button on a controller, physicals objects such as tables and chairs will be ‘ghosted’ into the virtual gameplay. This should help users avoid tripping over or bumping into objects should they find their immersion a little too gripping.
The camera isn’t the only change in the new technology. The Vive’s controllers have also been redesigned, boasting a more comfortable design and a new dual-stage trigger to give a more realistic level of interaction with virtual objects. Integrated rechargeable batteries provide four hours of charge.
The Vive’s base stations have also had a makeover, shrinking in size and improving their ability to track the headset and controllers.
On the inside of the helmet – which itself has been tweaked for better comfort – an updated strap design and swappable foam inserts help to give a better fit.
Its displays have also been updated, with brighter displays and increased clarity.
The Vive is set for consumer release later this year.