Last week HTC announced a new accessory, the Vive Facial Tracker. Though the device is designed to mount to the Vive Pro, it turns out it’s technically compatible with other PC VR headsets, provided you can find a way to mount it in the right spot.
HTC’s new Vive Facial Tracker accessory, set to launch later this month, promises to track “38 facial movements across the lips, jaw, teeth, tongue, chin, and cheeks.” When the company introduced the device, it only announced compatibility with its Vive Pro line of headsets.
Apparently that’s only half the story. The headset can technically work with any PC VR headset, according to host Mike from YouTube channel Virtual Reality Oasis who tested the Vive Facial Tracker with the Valve Index headset:
A little clip of the new Vive Facial Tracker working with the Valve Index… pic.twitter.com/fjbq4PigpF
— Mike – VRO (@vr_oasis) March 15, 2021
According to Mike, the Vive Facial Tracker ought to work with any PC VR headset as long as you can find a way to mount the tracker to offer a good view of your mouth. Of course, it’ll work best with headsets that have an on-board USB port (like Vive Pro, original Vive, Valve Index, and Pimax), though on some you’ll need an adapter for the Vive Facial Tracker’s USB-C port.
Clearly the Vive Facial Tracker will work best with the Vive Pro because its mount is specially designed to fit the headset, but pulling together a DIY solution seems straightforward enough. And we wouldn’t be surprised to see 3D printed mounts for other headsets start to pop up after the March 24th release date of the Vive Facial Tracker.
As far as HTC is concerned, the company isn’t guaranteeing the product will work well with other headsets. Shen Ye, the Sr. Director of Hardware Products at HTC, says the camera’s computer vision model was trained specifically from the vantage point of the Vive Pro, so any mounting that deviates from that perspective could impact tracking performance. He also says that USB-A (male) to USB-C (female) adapters are “against USB-IF specs,” and notes, “these adapters have no spec to conform to, so attempt this at your own risk.”