The HTC Vive is a virtual reality headset that was developed by HTC, in conjunction with Valve Corporation. The VR package comes out of the box with the headset and motion-tracked hand-held controllers. The combination of both gadgets makes it possible for the user to ‘see’ and interact with the virtual world respectively.
Likewise, HTC leveraged on a technology they dubbed ‘room scale’ to make it possible for the user to move around in 3D space.
Unveiled at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) that took place in March of 2015, the development kits of the gadget would not be sent out until August and September of the same year. First units then started shipping out to users in April of the next year (2016). Initially coming with a support for 107 games, more titles have since been added to the HTC Vive headset.
The HTC Vive headset itself promises a refresh rate of 90 Hz on top of a 100-degree field of view. To make the visual experience even more exciting, each eye of the VR headset comes with its own screen. Each screen is expected to carry a resolution of 1000 x 1200 pixel for clear imaging.
There are a number of sensors in the headset too, one of the most important being the infrared types which pick up the location of the base stations. Asides that, one can equally find gyroscope, proximity and G-sensors in the headset.
In the same retail box as the headset are a pair of Vive controllers. They come as wireless units, making it possible for the controller to really get physically immersed in the game. These Vive controllers have a number of ways in which the user can use them to interact with the system. There are the trackpad, some grip buttons and dual-stage triggers in place.
At the base of the Vive controllers are 24 infrared sensors each. This help detects where the controllers are relative to the headset and base stations.
The base stations we have been talking about are a pair of black boxes (and there isn’t even an aeroplane in sight). They are also called the Lighthouse tracking systems as they are responsible for mapping out where the headset and controllers are relative to one another.
The boxes create a 360-degree environment for the user in a 15 x 15 ft. area. The boxes emit infrared rays at 60 pulses per seconds, which are then picked up by the controller and headset.
On first launch, the HTC Vive headset would only work on computers having the Microsoft Windows operating system. Fast forward to 2017, and it now supports systems being run on Linux and Mac OS. Likewise, a patch known as Revive currently makes it possible t enjoy Oculus Rift games on the HTC Vive