Valve, creator of Steam and SteamVR, has announced the availability of new core components needed by VR hardware manufacturers to deliver “best in class” VR systems.
This new launch by Valve helps compliment the existing free license for sub-millimeter room-scale tracking and input technology. Valve will also launch an advanced optical system, manufacturing and calibration tools, and the supporting software stack to unify the hardware into an optimal user experience, according to their press release.
“World class VR requires highly precise tracking, matched optics and display technologies, and a software stack that weaves together the interactions between these components,” said Jeremy Selan of Valve. “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.”
Valve was one of the key components in helping the HTC Vive headset possible using their suite of products, hardware, and software. Valve is also working with LG in launching a competitor headset with updated hardware and specs.
They have developed “custom lenses that work with both LCD and OLED display technologies and is making these lenses available to purchase for use in SteamVR compatible HMDs.” These lenses and Valve’s unique calibration and correction software are designed specifically to be paired with several off-the-shelf VR displays to enable the high quality VR visual experiences.
These optical solutions currently support a field of view between 85 and 120 degrees (depending on the display). The lenses, which are designed to support the next generation of room-scale virtual reality, optimize the user’s perceived tracking experience and image sharpness while reducing stray light. Valve is including the custom lens calibration and correction software within the SteamVR technology suite. We aren’t quite sure if these lenses will be similar to the ones we currently see on the Vive headset or be a bit different.
By opening up their platform and license, it creates room for other manufacturers to join the race and use SteamVR as their platform. Valve currently has many hardware upgrades coming for their VR platform such as new base stations and their Knuckles VR motion tracking controllers. As growth continues in the VR sector, we will be seeing a lot more competition and Valve is looking to be at the helm of the race.
Valve will continue to offer full room-scale, sub-millimeter tracking technology by providing a reference design for the “Watchman” tracking module and by offering Valve manufactured base stations with SteamVR Tracking 2.0 technology for sale to licensees. For more information about their VR licensing, make sure to check out their partnership page.