3 min read
HTC's Vive Focus 3 headset update unlocks a larger VR area, WiFi 6e and more

article by Amit caesar

HTC has updated its excellent but expensive Vive Focus 3 business-focused headset with a much larger play area, WiFi 6E and more, the company announced. The software update comes with no change in hardware as HTC "secretly built in the 6E required hardware from Day 1," tweeted HTC's global head of hardware products, Shen Ye. 

According to Vive, WiFi 6E brings a "broad range of benefits." Low latency and higher capacity for VR streaming with less WiFi interference are among the benefits. The increased frequency range also allows for a two-fold increase in the number of devices with dedicated channels. The headsets already had the necessary hardware, so "there is no additional cost to the headset owner to leverage this functionality," according to the company.

Vive also unveiled a new feature called Location Based Entertainment (LBE) mode, which is aimed at businesses using the Focus 3 headset. It expands the play area from 15m x 15m (225 square meters or 2,422 square feet) to 33m x 33m (225 square meters or 2,422 square feet) (1,089 square meters or 11,722 square feet). According to the company, that's the equivalent of four tennis courts, compared to a size of just under a tennis court.

You can also add a boundary in any custom shape, such as a polygon or an L-shape, on top of the expanded area. Because the Focus 3 "constantly re-localizes in the known play area," you'll only have to do it once. According to HTC, the new setting creates large spaces for "VR arcade, arena experiences, or large training areas."

The update also includes Map Sharing, a feature that allows accurate co-location tracking among multiple users in a shared space. Other types of headsets that use outside-in tracking (rather than inside-out like the Focus 3), require "users to carry a PCVR backpack and play in a limited space with the Lighthouse system," HTC notes. With the Focus 3, Map Sharing and LBE, "users can finally run around in the field, provide cover for each other in shooting games or share their different perspectives in escape games," HTC said.

Other features include a Visual Odometery (VO) mode, which allows you to skip the usual 5-minute environment setup, an LBE Hybrid Mode, which combines VO and LBE for 6DoF tracking, and a Space Calibrator, which allows accessories such as a tennis racket to be tracked more accurately. The updates are now available; for more information, visit Vive's blog.

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