HTC Vive Pro Eye hands-on: first VR headset with eye tracking

CES 2019 HTC Vive Pro Eye Vive Cosmos VR headsets unveiled

HTC Announces Vive Cosmos, A VR Headset That Can Seemingly be Powered by Your Phone

During its VIVE press conference earlier today, HTC has unveiled its next virtual reality headset called VIVE Cosmos.

The Pro Eye has "foveated rendering" which will supposedly give you a better visual quality inside the headset. This renders sharp images for wherever the human eye is looking in a virtual scene and reduces the image in the periphery. HTC also shows a depiction of the headset hardware, including a screen you can flip up to see the real world without having to fully remove the headset. How do you feel about the new Vive Pro Eye and Vive Infinity? Instead, the Vive Pro Eye will blur those sections of the image, saving processing power.

Admittedly, it's not entirely clear from HTC's press release whether the Vive Cosmos is, in fact, a PC-based headset.

Foveated rendering reduces the amount of computing resources that are needed to render a high-quality VR experience for the user. A new VR baseball game called MLB Home Run Derby VR is played only using eye movements to navigate menus and perform in-game functions. The vendor said this means businesses can build even better training programs.

The catch is that the headset will track what you're looking at, using those data points for analytics. The Vive Cosmos will not feature eye tracking and will rely on handheld controllers.

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Cosmos, which appears to be a middle-of-the range headset, will be HTC's third line of Vive-branded headsets, following the Vive (and Vive Pro and Vive Pro Eye) and Vive Focus.

Both the HTC Vive Pro Eye and the HTC Vive Cosmos will be available later in 2019.

HTC General Manager, Americas, Dan O'Brien, positioned the Eye hardware as a great move for enterprise users.

Besides just enabling new controller-less experiences, the company also notes the new headset could have a significant impact on accessibility since it could open up VR experiences to people who aren't able to use traditional hand controllers.

Designed by HTC's Creative Labs, the Vive Reality System encompasses the total user experience from the moment a headset is put on to how content is interacted with.

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