HTC's Vive Cosmos VR headset is fantastic - and frustrating - in equal measure

The new Vive Cosmos VR headset is coming soon

HTC is pushing the envelope with a new piece of hardware, the HTC Vive Pro Eye.

Eye-tracking technology is exactly what it sounds like: hardware baked into the device that monitors where the user looks within the virtual environment.

The company announced two brand new headsets: the HTC Pro Eye and the HTC Cosmos.

Between the Quest and now Cosmos, it'll be interesting to see how VR continues to evolve from both HTC and Oculus as the devices start to move further away from requiring a PC to be powered.

Eye tracking also brings foveated rendering, which increases quality in the portion of the images where your eye is actually looking. It lacks all the indentations of previous headsets used by the Lighthouse sensors to track the headset.

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Explaining more about the system, Drew Bamford, VP, Creative Labs, HTC Vive said in a statement: "Our philosophy has always been focused on developing great products and experiences that create a natural and effortless bridge from the real world to the virtual world and with Vive Reality System we set out to reimagine Vive's core software experience to meet these needs". How do you feel about the new Vive Pro Eye and Vive Infinity? There's also no external tracking required. The technology is being debuted with Major League Baseball, which is providing CES 2019 attendees with access to the "MLB Home Run Derby VR" experience. Lockheed Martin is using the Vive Pro Eye to help train student pilots, for example.

Today, at CES 2019, HTC took the stage to launch several new products and upgrades in its popular Vive virtual reality division.

Besides just enabling new controller-less experiences, the company also notes the new headset could have a significant impact on accessibility since it could open up VR experiences to people who aren't able to use traditional hand controllers. Dan O'Brien, HTC Vive's GM of Americas, says the Vive Pro Eye came about because developers were asking to do more.

At some point it's going to have to entice consumers back - and while today hinted at that future, with the launch of Vive Reality Origins and Portal, a dedicated virtual world to interact with chums and jump between games, we still don't have something to get excited about beyond a new demo headset that won't turn on alongside some shiny handles. On the Cosmos website, HTC also said Cosmos will have an "ever-increasing suite of modular customisations".

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