SEQUEL TO THE PREQUEL
HTC Unveils the Vive Pre VR Headset at CES 2016
2016 is poised to be a big year for all things virtual reality, now that companies such as Sony, Oculus, and HTC are going all out to be the first to offer a VR headset to consumers.
HTC was originally expected to release its VR headset, the Vive, by the end of 2015, which as you probably would have already noticed, hasn’t exactly materialized. According to HTC, the company decided to push back the launch of the Vive to April 2016 because they wanted to supplement it with “a very, very big technological breakthrough.”
This ‘technological breakthrough’ that HTC was speaking of was showcased at CES 2016 last month through the Vive Pre – a secondgeneration Vive developer kit, which sports a number of interesting new features and ergonomic improvements over the original, ones that would very likely find their way onto the final consumer version of the Vive.
The highlight of the Vive Pre is definitely its new front-facing camera, which allows the Vive Pre to overlay virtual objects into the real world, and vice versa, to provide you with a compelling augmented reality experience. The Vive Pre’s front camera is also mindful enough to prevent you from walking into walls or objects while you’re prancing around with the headset on, as it will automatically provide you with a video feed of the real world once you stray too far away from the pre-defined VR boundary.
There are plenty of other improvements to be found in and around the headset as well. It’s now more compact that before, and features a new strap design, alongside interchangeable foam inserts that would enable it to sit more snugly around your head.
Bundled together with the Vive Pre are its redesigned wireless motion controllers, which have been duly given softer edges, textured buttons and grip pads to make them feel more comfortable in your hands. They even come with a dual stage trigger, which helps you to interact with objects more intuitively. Being the wireless controllers that they are, you can expect to recharge the Lithium-ion batteries of the Vive Pre rather frequently, as they’re rated to have a battery life of just four hours.