HTC Vive VR headset gets real-time eye tracking upgrade kit, and the aGlass only costs $219
We used to think the long-term growth and eventual mainstream breakthrough of VR technology would depend primarily on immersive content, apps and experiences, and while that may still be the case, HTC is starting to prove headset accessories and “upgrade kits” are similarly important.
Before a second-gen Vive and separate powerful mobile edition can see daylight, the original model has been able to expand its functionality and futuristic capabilities over the past few months with a wireless adapter, external tracker and Deluxe Audio Strap.
It was clearly just a matter of time until HTC followed Fove’s suit, turning what Oculus and Google are also secretly working on into (virtual) reality. For starters, of course, the aGlass DK (development kit) II will be offered for “limited pre-order sales next month” in China only, at the reasonable-sounding price of RMB 1,500 (USD 219).
Created by a little Beijing-based company called 7invensun, the “real-time eye tracking” project was included in the $100 million accelerator program Vive X as part of a second startup recruitment batch, with the resulting upgrade accessory aiming to “enable foveated rendering and real-time eye control interactions, lowering the hardware requirements for VR applications, and creating a more natural VR human-computer interaction.”
Essentially, once these aGlass myopic lenses are attached to a standard HTC Vive, your eye movement will be carefully monitored in addition to your head’s to support “more natural”, fluid experiences, and perhaps most importantly, take the focus away from images you’re not actually looking at.