HTC Vive Cosmos Headset Promises Lightweight, Portable VR

Donna Miller
January 8, 2019

As part of the latter's announcement, HTC Vive has revealed the Vive Reality System, designed as a new portal for users to enter virtual reality (VR) worlds.

HTC says it plans to make the Vive Pro Eye available to developers later this year, and it's already been working with a select group of partners on experiences for the new headset. The company announced that its introducing fovated rendering software into the mix using Nvidia's new RTX technology to create sharper images in VR by drastically reducing the resolution around areas in the wearer's peripheral vision. Plus, it comes with a flip-up design, so you can swap between reality and virtual reality instantly. How do you feel about the new Vive Pro Eye and Vive Infinity? Lockheed Martin is using the Vive Pro Eye to help train student pilots, for example.

For now, HTC has stated that Cosmos requires not external trackers which means that the headset should be utilizing a method called inside-out tracking. HTC refers to this technique as "foveated rendering". That's right. This headset tracks your eye movements. The accompanying bumpf doesn't really make things any clearer, but it sounds like a new interface and tutorial system that will presumably do a better job of easing people into VR than the Vive does now.

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According to HTC, the number of Viveport subscriptions went up three times since last CES, and it also has three times the amount of content as before.

The HTC Vive press conference at CES 2019 has certainly been memorable thanks to the unveiling of the Vive Pro Eye and the Vive Cosmos headsets. Its teaser trailer would imply it uses your smartphone to power its VR experience (see below), but HTC have also said it "has the capability to be powered by more than a traditional gaming PC". The Vive Cosmos will not feature eye tracking and will rely on handheld controllers.

Finally, HTC also announced an exciting update for members of the Viveport subscription service: starting on Vive Day, April 5, 2019, Viveport will move to an unlimited subscription model known as Viveport Infinity.

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