HTC announced the Vive Cosmos, a 6DOF VR headset with two motion controllers and which uses inside-out tracking with no external sensors. Cosmos reportedly works with either a desktop or a smartphone — the first such VR headset. Here is the product video:
Analysis and predictions
HTC has been tight-lipped about the Cosmos’ capabilities. However, we can infer some of its features.
Cosmos uses inside-out tracking with four cameras. By comparison, Windows Mixed Reality headsets, the Lenovo Mirage Solo, and HTC’s own Vive Focus, all have 6DOF inside-out tracking with only two cameras. If two cameras are sufficient for inside-out tracking, what are the extra cameras for? They could be for better precision, but I think they are for better tracking of the controllers.
I have a Windows Mixed Reality headset (the Lenovo Explorer), and I’ve found the headset tracking is decent but the tracking area for the controllers is noticeably limited. If you move your controllers too far back, the headset is unable to track them. With the Cosmos’ additional cameras on the side of the headset, I believe you’ll be able to move the controllers with almost the full range of motion.
In terms of graphics, I think the fact that Cosmos is compatible with smartphones leads me to speculate that the Cosmos will not be a replacement for the Vive but rather will be a consumer-oriented VR headset, similar to the Oculus Quest (reviewed here).
Although the Cosmos is on display at CES, HTC is not revealing anything about it, so I don’t expect we’ll learn any additional info when I visit their booth.