Chipset maker Intel has developed a VR sensor for the HTC Vive that allows tracking of your body in virtual reality. It also opens up the ability to keep tabs on the real world while deeply enmeshed in VR.
The tech giant is yet to announce the device, but a now erased tweet from Intel engineer Dimitri Diakopoulos has spilt the beans on the project.
It includes a photo of the said device which attaches at the middle of the HTC Vive virtual reality headset.
The virtual reality website UploadVR carried the photo from Twitter. The device reportedly has six sensors and uses the capability of Intel’s RealSense camera used commonly on new Windows systems for logging users in with face recognition.
Dikapolous is an engineer with Intel’s virtual reality team based in San Francisco. He tweeted: “Industrial design team nailed it” on August 2 but the tweet has since been erased.
The notion of tracking an entire person in virtual reality is not new, but it has not been directly available on VR headsets by Oculus Rift and HTC. Those headsets do offer hand controllers that lets a person interact with the virtual world, and pick up objects in it.
Full body tracking systems already have been developed and are in operation at virtual reality theme experiences run by Zero Latency in Melbourne and The Void in New York. You see a virtual body representation of others in this environment along with complete body movements.
In addition Leap Motion is offering body tracking in VR. Currently in Beta, its Orion system allows fine hand control of objects in virtual space.
Intel’s device apparently also can alert you to objects in the real world when you are in VR.
Uploadvr carries comments from Diakopoulos from an interview it conducted on Twitter before the tweet was pulled. He told the publication that the Intel accessory could track hand movements as well as infra-red tracked controllers.
“This opens up the potential to detect obstacles automatically. You don’t want to step on your cat while immersed in VR and a sensor like this could help make sure that doesn’t happen,” he told the publication.
“The sensor might also let you switch to a view of the real world if you want to, for example, sit in a chair or pick up a glass of water without taking off the headset,” he told uploadvr.com.
Intel had been tipped to officially unveil the device at a developers’ conference in San Francisco later this month.
Intel meanwhile has issued recalls for the Basis Peak fitness trackers due to overheating concerns. It’s not the first time the watch has had this issue. The watch is sold in Europe, the UK, US and Canada. Basis is funded by Intel Capital.