The HTC Vive has finally arrived at our lab in Cape Town. It is probably one of the first HTC Vives in South Africa (at least the consumer version) since it is not specifically available here yet. We had to contact a few friends in the US to help us get it here.
The box is quite large and measures 58 x 42 x 21cm and weighs in at a sizable 9kg. Shipping wasn’t cheap, but we’re glad we went through the trouble! The HTC Vive is a Virtual Reality system and allows for up to 5 x 5m room scale tracking. It also comes with two tracked controllers. We had to rearrange our office furniture to create enough space, which might be difficult for some folks at home.
The system encourages you to physically walk around and explore your virtual environment, which people do not seem to grasp immediately when they try it out for the first time. It’s like we first have to unlearn how we usually interact with computers and return to our more natural ways. Luckily people adjust quite quickly. Room scale VR is a whole different experience compared to the Oculus Rift’s seated one. I suspect some applications will benefit more from a seated experience, while others cannot do without the room-scale tracking.
All in all setup was a breeze. You plug everything in, run the software, and have the HTC Vive calibrated in no time. You can buy games and other software for the Vive through the Steam app. There are plenty of free games and demos available to try out. We can go on and on about all the interesting demo’s we’ve played with, but the thing about Virtual Reality is that you have to experience it yourself to understand the possibilities. Feel free to contact us to arrange a virtual reality tech demo.