HTC has officially announced the impending launch of the TPCast wireless adaptor for its Vive virtual reality headset, along with a device it has dubbed the 'Vive Tracker' and which allows any object to be tracked by the system's lighthouse sensors.
Originally unveiled back in November
as an exclusive to HTC's Chinese storefront, the TPCast is designed to address one of the biggest problems - next to price - facing room-scale virtual reality: the cable tethering your skull to your PC. While PC manufacturers have begun addressing the issue from the opposite direction by building gaming PCs into backpacks, HTC has instead opted to replace the wire with a high-speed, low-latency wireless transceiver and a battery capable of running the headset for around 90 minutes per charge.
At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week, HTC announced the TPCast's wider availability with the promise that the device will launch internationally in the second quarter of the year priced at $249 (around £202 excluding taxes), a roughly £30 premium over the device's Chinese pre-order pricing. As with its original partial launch, the unit will come with a 90 minute battery with plans to offer a longer-lasting 'XL' battery as an optional extra post-launch.
HTC's other major announcement at the show: The Vive Tracker, a device based around the same technology as the bundled controllers, which the company claims can be easily integrated into accessories ranging from training rifles to firehoses in order to allow said objects to be tracked by the lighthouse sensor system and represented in VR even when they're not being held by the user. Availability for the Vive Tracker has not yet been confirmed, but the company is expected to sell in volume to accessory makers rather than in individual units to hobbyists and end users.