HTC Vive

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HTC Vive
Category Virtual Reality Devices
Developer HTC Corporation (in cooperation with Valve Corporation)
Announced 1 March 2015 [1]
Released Developers: 2014 [2]
Consumers: 5 April 2016 [3]
Price 800 USD [4] (business edition costs 1200 USD[5])
Operating system none (works with Windows, Linux, OS X)
Display OLED
Resolution 2160x1200
Field of view 110110 °
degrees horizontal[4]
Weight 555 g [6]

inertial, position

Data available Robust
Risk factor Low
Not Standalone

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.[7] 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.[8] The safety of users is secured by the Chaperone system. It allows displaying a real surrounding when needed and warns users if they approach close to an obstacle.[9]

The HTC Vive was primarily created as an entertainment device, but it has also ambition to educate and enhance abilities of its users.[7] The use of HTC Vive in business[10] or therapy[11] 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.[12] The wide range of its usage mirrors further partners of the project which are e.g. Google, Lionsgate, HBO[8] or BMW[10].

Main Characteristics

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[8] 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.[4] The sensors are located into various directions in order to enable a precise tracking of user’s movements.[2] In the middle of the headset is a frontal camera which is a one part of the Chaperone system.[8] The optics of the headset is mediated by two Fresnel lenses, which are considerably lighter than standard lenses.[13] The headset fits all shapes of face and glasses can be worn in it since the specific settings are adjusted by a 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 affected 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.[14] 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.[15] 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 the movement of a user. In order to track precisely, they have to be placed on high and stable spots. The recommended area of a virtual reality field is approximately 2 x 1.5 m (6.5 x 5 feet).[14]

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 the 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.[9] The HTC Vive could be linked with a mobile phone and users can received massages or send a simple answers in virtual reality.[16]

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.[4] 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[17]


The HTC Vive’s main purpose is to entertain and educate its users. It also provides a working field for artists, 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 ran separately. They conjoined their projects in 2014.[2]

  • Peter Chou – former HTC’s Chief Executive Officer who started the project, retired[18]
  • 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[19]
  • 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

Important Dates

  • Valve started a development of their head mounted device in 2012
  • HTC began with advancement of their virtual reality 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[2]
  • 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[1]
  • The shipping started in 5th April, 2016
  • The Bussines Edition began to be shipped in 10th June, 2016[5]

Enhancement, Therapy and Treatment

Since virtual reality devices as the HTC Vive allows simulating situations from Architecture, Engineering or Chemistry, which are safe and realistic at the same time, they possess a various possibilities for in these fields of study.[20] In addition, designers in BMW appreciated HTC Vive’s precise tracking, which could simplify their work. The 3-D models are also considerably less expensive than clay models which were used previously.[10]

The researchers claim that virtual reality has a great pedagogical potential. The positive impact which virtual reality has on an educational process was tested for several years. However, they argue that new devices as the HTC Vive could provide more compelling experience. These devices are also more accessible for users.[21]

There are studies of a therapeutically use of virtual reality in cases of stress, posttraumatic stress disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,[22] and the reduction of pain [23] 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.[11]

The researchers also take into account the treatment of sexual offenders in virtual reality. This could, however, oppose laws of certain countries, which prohibit sexual representations, especially the images of nude children.[22]

Health Risks

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.[24] Certain reviews argue that the HTC Vive does not cause a cybersickness to them or its symptoms were milder.[25][26] However, the comprehensive study of this phenomenon and the larger group of respondents is needed for any conclusive claim. On the other hand, there are health risks which are a result of a motion (even though the 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.[26] The bystanders could be also hurt if they stand in an inappropriate distance to the user.[7] All the health risks are carefully described in a HTC Vive’s Safety and Regulatory Guide.[27]

Ethical Issues

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 there are controversies as video games’ addiction[28] or microtransactions[29], the greatest issue is the violence, which some of them contain.[30][31][32] 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.[29]

Public & Media Impact and Presentation

There were rumours that Valve intent to join the 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 a new version of the device entitled HTC Vive Pre was presented. The Chaperone system was announced at the same time. The HTC Vive Pre still slightly differed, however, from the version which was shipped from 1st March and which was entitled just HTC Vive.[2] The HTC Vive is generally appreciated by the reviewers and it won several awards.[33][34]

Disney's animator Glen Keane publicly supported the HTC Vive highlighting the fact that a user could create 3D paintings throught its app Tilt Brush.[35]

There was a controversy among the users of the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift project. The anti-piracy technology of the Oculus Rift made Oculus-exclusive apps inaccesible for them. However, Libre VR bypassed it recently.[36]

Public Policy

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".

Related Technologies, Project or Scientific Research

The users can purchase their apps in SteamVR a virtual reality's counterpart of Valve's Steam.[7]

There are two projects which are related to the HTC Vive at present, HTC Vive Business Edition[5] and Manus VR[15]. While the former is already shipped, the latter has not been finished yet.

There is no scientific research regarding specifically ethical issues or health risks of the HTC Vive, but certain research concerning virtual reality devices or even virtual reality in general may apply.[31]


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  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 (Retrieved 1st August, 2016) Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "oral history" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "oral history" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "oral history" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "oral history" defined multiple times with different content
  3. (Retrieved 1st August, 2016)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 (Retrieved 1st August, 2016) Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "techradar review" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "techradar review" defined multiple times with different content
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