HTC Vive Pro Eye Revealed at CES 2019

The integrates eye tracking natively.

HTC Vive has begun its CES 2019 press conference with the first major virtual reality (VR) announcement of the show, a new headset called the HTC Vive Pro Eye, which features eye-tracking natively built into the headset.

HTC Vive’s Rikard Steiber took to the stage to unveil the new head-mounted display (HMD) – which looks exactly like the old model. Eye tracking has long been talked about in the VR industry, but its implementation has up until now been fairly muted, with companies long professing its benefits alongside foveated rendering without any real adoption in the consumer marketplace.

Obviously, that’s about to change with the introduction of the Vive Pro Eye. With integrated eye tracking and foveated rendering, less powerful PC’s would be needed to run the headset, helping drop costs. On the other hand, a powerful PC could then produce even better-looking graphics. As you can see from the image below, foveated rendering works by dropping the resolution in a users peripheral vision whilst keeping the highest quality wherever they happen to be looking.

As part of the announcement today HTC Vive revealed several new partnerships including Zero Light and Major League Baseball (MLB). Eye tracking has been integrated into the MLB Home Run Derby VR experience, giving users full menu control with their eye’s instead of having to use controllers.

“We’ve invested in VR technology to bring fans a fun immersive experience and connection to our game and deliver a new level of engagement through VR game competitions, at-home play and in-ballpark attractions,” said Jamie Leece, Senior Vice President, Games & VR, MLB in a statement. “By integrating eye-tracking technology into Home Run Derby VR, we are able to transport this transformative baseball experience to any location without additional controllers needed. Our fans can simply operate menus by using their eyes.”

The HTC Vive Pro Eye will be targeted more towards the enterprise market when it launches in Q2 2019. Currently, no price has been given for the new headset. VRFocus will be getting hands-on with the Vive Pro Eye during CES 2019, so stay tuned for more information as the show progresses.

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