'High Fidelity' Adds Vive Tracker Support For Realistic Avatar Motion

High Fidelity adopted HTC’s Vive Tracker solution to improve the, er, fidelity of its inverse kinematics system and enable more realistic avatar movements.

High Fidelity is a virtual reality social platform that allows anyone to create their own space to share with others in VR--sort of like what Linden Lab’s Sansar will eventually become. The High Fidelity platform allows you to customize your VR space however you wish. It even supports importing textures and 3D objects into your environment to make it unique.

High Fidelity also offers highly detailed character models with animated features. The platform includes software that translates your speech into facial animation (which is another trait that Sansar offers) as well as complex inverse kinematics (IK) algorithms to simulate full-body movement. High Fidelity’s software IK system uses the position of your hands (tracked controllers) and head (VR Headset) to estimate where your feet, knees, hips, and elbows are. But if you have a set of Vive Trackers, the IK system doesn’t have to estimate the position of your joints.

In addition to the three points of tracking that existed before, High Fidelity’s platform now supports between two and eight Vive Trackers to track the position of your whole body. You can attach trackers to your feet, legs, waist, torso, and arms to provide realistic, real-time 3D avatar movements. Having Vive Trackers attached to several points on your body allows you to bring natural human movement into the virtual experience.

"The future for VR will fulfill the promise of completely lifelike communication at any distance," said Philip Rosedale, CEO, High Fidelity. "With the Vive Trackers, the capture of the detail and nuance of body language is now possible for the first time."

The company also revealed that Vive Trackers let you interact with the High Fidelity community without putting a VR headset on, which would enable musicians and entertainers to put on performances without cutting their view off from their instruments or props.

The High Fidelity platform is currently available to anyone via open beta. The current release includes support for the Vive Tracker-enabled full-body motion capture system. However, Vive Trackers are available only to developers for now. HTC hasn’t yet announced the retail release date for the universal trackers, but the company previously said they would be available later this year.

 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.