HTC and Valve Corp.’s upcoming headset will now protect you from your own living room while you’re exploring virtual reality. The Taiwanese gadget maker on Tuesday revealed the latest developer version of its VR set, dubbed the Vive Pre.
But don’t break out the wallet just yet. As the name implies, it’s a prerelease version of its Vive headset and only available to developers. New in the Vive Pre is a front-facing camera that enables a new feature called Chaperone, which can automatically overlay a map of the physical world in the headset display to prevent its wearer from running into walls and other objects in the living room, according to Engadget.
The camera overlay can also be enabled with the press of a couple controller buttons to make it easy to navigate a room without the need to take the headset off first. The front-facing camera will also be accessible to developers to toy around with once they get hold of the headset.
— Popular Science (@PopSci) January 5, 2016
In addition to improvements with the headset itself, HTC also launched its pair of redesigned wireless controllers, which come with force feedback, improved buttons and ergonomics. HTC claims their lithium-ion batteries can last about four hours between charges.
HTC is expected to offer 7,000 units of the new VR headset to developers in January, followed later in the month by a separate-announcements in Seattle focusing on games and content for the Vive, according to Fortune. The consumer model of the HTC Vive is expected to launch sometime in April. A firm launch date and price has yet to be unveiled.
In addition to HTC, several manufacturers are expected to unveil the consumer models of their headsets this year, including Facebook’s Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR. While prices haven’t been revealed for either headset, Oculus is set to begin taking preorders for the Rift on Wednesday.