In a surprise follow-up to its launch of the Vive Pro, HTC has now announced the release of the new Vive tracker for 2018. This was announced via Twitter by Shen Ye, an HTC team member.
The announcement was made without much fanfare, but has been confirmed by HTC. Unlike controllers, the trackers are designed to attach to other objects (guns, tennis rackets, etc) which then become peripherals.
The trackers are tracked by the Lighthouse sensors. This makes it possible to play games like tennis, cricket and baseball with the real feel of the racket or bat.
Unlike the old trackers, which only support SteamVR BS1.0, the new Vive trackerl supports SteamVR BS2.0 which offers better tracking accuracy and range. In other respects, the trackers are the same as last year’s model and are backwardly compatible.
Both the 2017 and 2018 trackers are compatible with the Vive and the Vive Pro. They also compatible with each other and can work together inside a single game without conflicts. Like the defunct 2017 model, the 2018 tracker retails for $99 (£99, AU$169).
The 2017 trackers have been withdrawn. However, third party vendors mighty still be selling the old 2017 tracker. So, to be sure you get the new Vive tracker, make sure it has the new blue label. The old (2017) trackers carry a white label.
You can even attach it to a Logitech keyboard and have your hands tracked with the forward-looking cameras. An article in November here at bestvr.tech described how the HTC tracker could be attached to a Logitech keyboard as a means of creating a virtual office.
One of the widely recognized strengths of the HTC Vive over the Oculus Rift (now the Facebook Rift) is that the Vive trackers give it greater versatility. This is even truer of the new Vive tracker.