Published: Tue, January 08, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

HTC Unveils Vive Cosmos Headset for VR Newbies

HTC Unveils Vive Cosmos Headset for VR Newbies

Today at HTC's CES 2019 press conference, the company dropped major news about two new headsets: The HTC Vive Cosmos and the HTC Vive Pro Eye.

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. That means that no matter what direction your eyes are looking on the screen, you will always be seeing a sharp image instead of having to turn your head and keep your eyes locked forward.

Eventually, the Vive Reality System will power all of HTC Vive's hardware products, with the first being Vive Cosmos which is slated for launch by the end of 2019.

Even the flip up cover of the HTC Vive Cosmos feels like a nod to the movie Ready Player One, similar to the movie poster that shows the protagonist flipping in and out of the virtual worlds. Where the Pro Eye focuses on enterprise, the Cosmo has a firm target of the average consumer/enthusiast. HTC refers to this technique as "foveated rendering". 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.

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Eye tracking can also be used in place of handheld controllers. The point is that it should allow businesses to make better training simulations. In the meantime, I'm going to continue being rather excited about a VR headset that uses eye-tracking. While the Cosmos features inside-out tracking, the HTC Vive Pro Eye brings you "foveated rendering" to change the way you'll look at games and apps in virtual reality (VR) forever. Unlike the HTC Vive Pro, the Vive Cosmos features a simpler setup, removing the need for an external base station and including the ability to attach to a wider range of PCs.

This is where the Vive Cosmo comes in.

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. And HTC is also looking to reimagine the whole VR experience with its new Vive Reality System.

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