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SteamVR Tracking Volume Increased, New Sensor Announced

Hot-off-the-heels of the announcement of a SteamVR beta for Mac format PCs, Valve has revealed a new update for the HTC Vive. Along with an update which will allow for larger tracking volumes for the device, Valve has revealed that new lighthouse base stations are on the way.

Lighthouse Base Station
Credit: PC Gamer

In a lengthy and somewhat complicated post over on the official Steam website, Valve revealed that a new data sync through optimised laser transmission will allow for more lighthouse base stations to be incorporated into a single HTC Vive set-up. This would in-turn allow for a greater tracking volume for setups which house more than two lighthouse base stations.

Furthermore, new lighthouse base stations designs are on the way. Due to the improvements in data transmission, the sync blinker – which, according to Valve, is the source of most of the interference between base stations and is also a significant driver of base station cost – can now be removed from the devices. The result is smaller, quieter, lower power, more reliable, and less expensive lighthouse base stations.

However, not all is rosey. According to Valve, there will be some limitations on the new base stations, including incompatibility with older devices.

“Because the new Valve-built base stations don’t include a sync blinker, one side-effect of the sync-on-beam technology in tracking 2.0 is that those base stations will only work with TS4231-based devices. Valve-built base stations will not work with older 1.0 devices. The older 1.0 base stations will continue to work with new devices, just without any of the new features,” reads the official post.

 

HTC Vive Lighthouse 2.0Valve will have base stations available in production quantities starting in November 2017, however developers interested in engineering samples of the new base stations may begin receiving them later this month.

No price structure, beyond the statement that they will be ‘less expensive’, has yet been announced for the new lighthouse base stations. However, VRFocus will of course keep you updated with all the latest details.