|Developer||HTC Corporation, Valve Corporation|
|Announced||1st March, 2015|
Consumers: 5th April, 2016
|Price||800 USD (2016) 1200 USD BE (2016)|
|Operating system||Windows, Linux, OS X|
|Field of View||110°|
|Controls||inertial, hand controllers, Lighthouse base stations, position tracking|
The HTC Vive is a virtual reality device, which was developed by HTC and Valve. It is a wearable device and belongs to the head mounted displays' category. It was shipped as the first device which allows to act and physically move in virtual reality. The interaction with virtual reality is enabled by the headset, controllers and base station sensors. The whole system has to be linked with an appropriate computer. The safety of users is secured by Chaperone system. It allows displaying a real surrounding when needed and warn users if they approach close to an obstacle.
The HTC Vive was primarily created as an entertainment device, but it has also ambition to educate and enhance abilities of its users. The use of HTC Vive in business or therapy was taken into account at present. There are also great expectations that virtual reality devices as the HTC Vive could bring a new approach to the visualisation of scientific models. The wide range of its usage mirrors the further partners of the project which are e.g. Google, Lionsgate, HBO or BMW.
The HTC Vive is fully enclosed but it has to be connected to a personal computer, hence it is not a standalone device. It has total resolution of 2160 x 1200 pixels and, on the contrary to other headsets, it has an aspect ratio 9:5. The refresh rate of images is 90Hz and the field of view is approximately 110°. The HTC Vive consists of a head mounted display, two controllers, two base station sensors, ear buds and it is shipped with copies of the video games Fantastic Contraption, Job Simulator and 3D painting tool Tilt Brush. The headset is made from black plastic with 32 sensors placed on its surface. The sensors are located into various directions in order to enable a precise tracking of user’s movements. In the middle of the headset is a frontal camera which is a one part of Chaperone system. The optics is mediated by two Fresnel lenses, which are considerably lighter than standard lenses. It fits all shapes of face and glasses can be worn in it since the specific settings are adjusted by foam lining. Headphones are not a part of the headset. Users could use theirs or they could use ear buds which are shipped with the headset. The headset is linked with user’s computer by cables. Besides the headset, virtual reality is influenced by two motion controllers. They are crowned by a circular motion sensor and contain buttons and a touchpads, which allow various ways of interaction in virtual reality. Recently, the rumours appear that HTC develops another type of controller, which would be more similar to a human hand and which is entitled Manus VR, but it is not shipped with the HTC Vive at present. The tracking of all the sensors is provided by two base station sensors. They have to be installed in the opposite corners of a virtual reality field, in which is supposed a movement of a user. In order to track precisely, they have to be placed on a high and stable spot. The recommended area of a virtual reality field is approximately 2 x 1.5 m (6,5 x 5 feet).
All of these components assure that the HTC Vive was the first virtual reality device, which truly enabled a movement in virtual reality. In order to make the movement in virtual reality as safe as possible, HTC and Valve invented Chaperone system. It contains several functions which are supposed to protect users in the majority of situations which they could encounter when being in virtual reality. Firstly, it shows them a blue network in their virtual reality environment, if they quit the area bounded by the base stations. Secondly, users could see shapes of the environment, when they request them or when the obstacle is close to them through the camera which in the middle of the headset. The HTC Vive could be linked with a mobile phone and users can received massages or send a simple answers in virtual reality.
The price of the device is 800 USD. In many cases it also requires further investments into user’s computer, since the recommended specification of the system is considerably demanding. Namely:
- Intel i5-4590 / AMD FX 8350 equivalent or better
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 equivalent or better
- 4GB or more
- HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
- 1x USB 2.0 or better port
- Windows 7 SP1 or newer
The HTC Vive’s main purpose is to entertain and educate its users. It also provides a working field for both scientists and businessmen. Its possible use in therapy is significantly taken into consideration at present.
Company & People
The HTC Vive project is a conjunction of two projects which HTC and Valve run separately. They conjoined their projects in 2014.
- Peter Chou – former HTC’s Chief Executive Officer who started the project, retired
- Cher Wang – HTC’s Chief Executive Officer
- Gabe Logan Newell – Valve’s Chief Executive Officer
- Claude Zellweger – HTC’s Head of Design
- Chet Faliszek – Valve’s Writer and the Key Virtual Reality Evangelist and the Developer Relations Liaison of the HTC Vive
- Dan O'Brien – HTC's Vice-president of Virtual Reality, Planning and Management
- Phil Chen – HTC’s Chief Content Officer and Founder of the HTC Vive
- Joel Breton – HTC's Vice-president of Virtual Reality Content Development
- Valve started a development of their HMD in 2012
- HTC began with advancement of their VR device in 2013
- HTC and Valve created a conjoint project in 2014
- The developers were invited to join the project in 20th October, 2014
- The first developer kit entitled “-v1” was produced in 1st December, 2014
- It was firstly announced at Mobile World Congress 2015 in 1st March, 2015
- A developed version entitled HTC Vive Pre was introduced at Consumer Electronics Show 2016
- The pre-order started in 29th February, 2016
- The shipping started in 5th April, 2016
- The Bussines Edition began shipping in 10th June, 2016
Enhancement, Therapy and Treatment
There are studies of a therapeutically use of virtual reality in cases of stress, posttraumatic stress disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and the reduction of pain  which can be applied more or less on the HTC Vive. Nonetheless, a different virtual reality device was used in most of the research. There is, however, one exception, the Deep VR developed an app which reduces stress and anxiety and which was developed and tested on devices of the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. Besides a virtual reality device, it requires a snug-fitting sensor, which monitors user’s breath.
The researchers also take into account the treatment of sexual offenders in virtual reality. This could, however, oppose laws of certain countries, which prohibit the sexual representations, especially those of children.
The health risks of the HTC Vive could be divided into two sections. On a one hand, there are health risks due to approaching virtual reality, which are described by the title cybersickness. It is a bulk of symptoms, as headache or nausea. The majority of virtual reality devices could cause its symptoms to greater or lesser extent. Certain reviews argue that the HTC Vive does not cause a cybersickness to them or its symptoms were milder. However, the deeper study of this phenomenon and the larger group of respondents is needed for a conclusive claim. On the other hand, there are health risks which are a result of a motion (even though Chaperone system should avoid a majority of them). These are specifics of those virtual reality devices which enable the real motion of users during their presence in virtual reality. The HTC Vive could endanger users by falling over cables or hitting their limbs. The bystanders could be also hurt if they stand in an inappropriate distance to the user. All the health risks are carefully described in a HTC Vive’s Safety and Regulatory Guide.
There is no ethical issue with direct regards to the HTC Vive, but those applicable on virtual reality devices could be applied on the HTC Vive. Especially, video games were intensively discussed recently. Although are controversies as video games’ addiction or microtransactions, the greatest issue is the violence, which some of them contain. In addition, it was pointed out that virtual reality devices as the HTC Vive make all the experience more intensive and therefore, the negative impact of certain content could be worse.
Public & Media Impact and Presentation
There were rumours that Valve intent to join Oculus Rift project, but they appears to disagree on several aspects of virtual reality device. Therefore, Valve built its virtual reality device with HTC. The first results of their project were unveiled at MWC 2015 and GDC 2015. In January 2016 the new version of the device entitled HTC Vive Pre was presented. The Chaperone system was announced at the same time. The HTC Vive Pre differed, however, from the version which was shipped from 1st March and which was entitled just HTC Vive. The HTC Vive is generally appreciated by the reviewers and it won several awards.
We have not recorded any public policy that regards the HTC Vive. The possible restriction of its use is mentioned in sections "Enhancement, Therapy and Treatment".
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