During the UploadVR Holiday Showcase today we just revealed that we now have a review unit of the upcoming Vive Cosmos SteamVR Tracking Addon, launching in Q1 2020.
We’ll be bringing you our full impressions of this addon next week!
If you own a Vive Cosmos and want more robust tracking, or support for Valve’s Index controllers (without manually aligning tracking systems) this could be what you’re looking for.
There’s no word on the exact price yet, but HTC tells us it will be less than $200. Keep in mind you’ll also need to purchase two or more SteamVR Tracking base stations ($150 each from Valve).
It does then seem that the combination of Vive Cosmos, SteamVR tracking addon, SteamVR base stations, and Index controllers would actually significantly exceed the price of the Valve Index full bundle. So, why buy one?
The answer, for some, could be that Vive Cosmos is the only new headset which offers a wireless option. If you’re bothered by the cable in PC VR, or used to the wireless freedom of Oculus Quest, such a combination could be what you’re looking for. Of course, that would be even more expensive, as the wireless adapter costs a total of $350 extra.
Inside-Out vs SteamVR Tracking
The original Vive used the SteamVR “Lighthouse” tracking system. In this system, external base stations placed at the top corners of the room send out a timed infrared signal which the headset and controllers use to determine their position in the room. SteamVR tracking is highly accurate and, since the base stations are positioned in the top corners, robust.
Cosmos uses inside-out tracking instead. This means buyers no longer need to set up base stations, however there are some tracking limitations.
The headset features total of six onboard cameras instead, more than we’ve seen in any other headset. HTC claims this provides a 310 degree controller tracking range. When we went hands on with Cosmos we found that while tracking mostly worked well, it sometimes took multiple seconds to re-establish when a controller goes completely out of view.
For more detailed information on this topic, see How VR Positional Tracking Systems Work.