Valve Software is offering advanced core components for VR hardware manufacturers, such as custom lenses especially created for the next generation of VR.
The company, creator of Steam and SteamVR, a platform for games and VR applications, this week announced the availability of these components for VR hardware manufacturers.
Several months ago, Valve began to freely license its SteamVR Tracking technology, which has been essential for HTC Vive’s functionality as it allows people to explore rooms in an immersive virtual world. The tech was employed in an LG prototype, and HTC is working on a wide array of VR accessories. Valve will soon introduce the next generation of this technology that will greatly reduce its cost, and will be suitable for tracking entire warehouses.
“World class VR requires highly precise tracking, matched optics and display technologies, and a software stack that weaves together the interactions between these components,” explains Valve’s Jeremy Selan. “For the first time, we’re making all of these technologies available to anyone who wants to build a best in class VR system for the millions of Steam customers accessing over 2,000 SteamVR compatible titles.”
LCD or OLED?
It appears Valve is targeting other VR headset producers with a broader selection of components, including custom lenses supporting both LCD and OLED display manufacturers. Vive and Oculus Rift use OLED panels. Low-persistence LCDs are used in several Microsoft headsets that will be launched soon. Valve seems to be offering producers another choice in using LCDs with tailored hardware and software production solutions.
Valve has furthermore realized custom lenses that function with both LCD and OLED display technologies. These lenses will become available for application in SteamVR compatible HMDs. Along with Valve’s software, the lenses are designed to be matched with several VR displays for superb VR visual experiences. These optical solutions at present support a field of view between 85-120 degrees, depending on the display. The lenses are created to support the next generation of room-scale VR, enhancing the user’s perceived tracking experience and image sharpness. Stray light is reduced.
Microsoft and Valve use different forms of tracking technologies for VR headsets. Microsoft’s inside-out solution requires no external hardware, but cannot track all hand movements when out of the view of sensors embedded on the headset itself. Valve’s outside-in technology comes with a pair of wall-mounted boxes mounted, but headsets and other objects can be tracked throughout the whole area.