Virtual reality lip tracking with HTC Vive Facial Tracker

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HTC has released a series of new viewer devices for its virtual reality headset Vive. Among them, there is also one that tracks facial expressions and lip movements.

The Vive Facial Tracker device, which has an overseas price of $ 130, clings to the Vive Pro head. It records lip, cheek and chin movements using two cameras and an infrared light source. It then transforms them into virtual facial expressions. HTC has started to put this new product on the world market.

HTC showed off an experimental VR face tracking device in 2019. He also previewed the product on Twitter earlier this week. Several developers, including the developers of the social network Neos VR, were also working with this tool. Until now, however, HTC had not announced that it would be extensively launching this product.

Vive Facial Tracker supports 38 different facial movements. Users can also pair it with the Vive Pro variant with built-in eye tracking, called the Vive Pro Eye. This makes it possible to efficiently transfer most of a user’s face to an avatar picture or motion capture system.

Also released is the third generation version of HTC’s general purpose VR tracker. The palm-sized audience discs are 33 percent smaller and 15 percent lighter than the previous generation. HTC states that the battery life has also increased by 75 percent. These will also be available in the US on March 24, at the same time as the Vive Facial Tracker, for $ 130.

These HTC modules offer the opportunity to accurately and precisely capture the movements of body parts that standard VR headset sensors cannot capture. Some VR-based social experiences were trying to predict people’s mouth movements from their voices. However, this new face follower will be able to accurately see how the face looks during the conversation, and successfully convey the smiles and pouting. Similarly, VR viewers can be fixed to customized controllers or attached to people’s legs or feet.

However, face tracker has limited device compatibility. It seems to work with the professional-level Vive Pro line. But it is not compatible with the newer and individual consumer oriented Vive Cosmos.

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