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Virtual Reality Peripherals And Accessories

Virtual Reality Peripherals And Accessories

Virtual reality headsets burst into the consumer market a little over a year, and there’s already an abundance of VR accessories to choose from, including gun peripherals, tracking systems, and omnidirectional treadmills. The market is still young, and everyone wants a piece of it. What follows is all of the gear we know of.

Granted, whether you need some (or any?) of these products remains to be seen, and many of them may never see the light of day.


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Oculus Rift Earbuds

During the Oculus Connect 3 (OC3) developer conference in October 2016, Oculus released an earbud accessory to replace the over-the-ear headphones that come pre-installed on the Oculus Rift HMD. The Oculus Ear Buds attach to the head strap of the Rift in the stock mounting points. The Oculus Earbuds are available for $50 as an optional accessory from Oculus.com.


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HTC Vive Deluxe Audio Head Strap

HTC announced an upgraded head strap for the HTC Vive at CES 2017. The Deluxe Audio Head Strap combines the best qualities of Oculus’ Rift head strap and the mechanical head strap found on Sony’s PSVR.

The Vive Deluxe Audio Head Strap features a rigid construction like the Rift, as well as a crank to help secure the Vive into place like the PSVR. The upgraded head strap also includes a pair of integrated over-the-ear headphones, so you don’t have to wear a gaming headset with the Vive anymore.


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JBL OR100 Oculus Rift Earbuds

When Oculus released the Rift Earbuds accessory, the company opened the doors for third-party vendors to build accessories, too. JBL is among the first in line; the long-time speaker and headphone maker released the JBL OR100 Oculus Rift earbuds, which replace the stock Oculus over-the-ear headphones. The JBL OR100 earbuds feature ear tips in three different sizes that block ambient noise. The earbuds also feature JBL Pure Bass sound amplification.


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JBL OR300 Oculus Headphones

If earbuds aren’t your style, JBL also offers an on-ear headphone upgrade. The JBL OR300 premium headphones offer similar specifications to the OR100 earbuds. The headphones feature JBL’s Pure Bass technology, and JBL designed the earcups to seal out ambient noise. JBL also packed the cushions with soft padding so you can wear them comfortably for extended lengths of time.


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Mantis Detachable PSVR Headphones

The Oculus Rift includes built-in headphones, and HTC Vive owners have the option of purchasing the Deluxe Audio Strap that includes integrated headphones. Sony doesn’t offer a first-party attached headphone option for the PSVR HMD, but a company called Bionik Gaming filled the gap with a third party accessory.

Bionik Gaming’s Mantis PSVR headphones mount to the headband of the PSVR HMD. The Mantis headphones feature a spring-loaded hinge like the one found on the Oculus Rift headphones that make it easier to slip the headset on and off.

Bionik Gaming plans to release the Mantis headphones later this year.


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Turtle Beach Ear Force 350VR

There are plenty of accessories that attach headphones and earbuds to your HMD, but Turtle Beach designed the Ear Force 350VR headset to fit around it.

Most gamers have a fancy gaming headset with surround sound features and a quality microphone, but often those headsets don’t fit over the head strap of a VR HMD—particularly the PSVR’s rigid headband system. The Ear Force 350VR headset has a wider headband to leave room for VR headgear. Turtle Beach also carved a channel out of the top band to let data cables pass through without sacrificing comfort.

The Turtle Beach Ear Force 350VR headphones are compatible with the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Sony PSVR.


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Sixa Rivvr Wireless VR Adapter

Sixa is building a WiFi-based wireless system called Rivvr that will let you forever disconnect from the dreaded tether from your HMD. Rivvr supports Oculus Rift and HTC Vive and works over standard 5GHz Wifi connections. Eventually, Sixa plans to like the Rivvr system to its cloud-hosted desktop platform, so you won’t need a PC to use a Vive at home.


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TPCast Wireless VR Adapter

TPCast is a Chinese company that specializes in wireless technology. It developed a wireless VR transmission system that leverages the company’s proprietary high-bandwidth wireless video technology that removes the tether cable from the the VR experience.

TPCast partnered with HTC to offer an officially sanctioned upgrade kit of the HTC Vive VR system. The TPCast kits are available now in China and should hit North American shores later this year.


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Leap Motion Camera

The Leap Motion camera isn’t strictly a VR accessory. In fact, the hardware launched long before the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive hit the market. However, when Oculus started selling developer kits, Leap Motion made a quick pivot to virtual reality. The company adapted its hardware and software to enable camera-based hand tracking in real time so you can use your actual hands in VR experiences.

The Leap Motion camera is somewhat outdated, but it’s still readily available. When Leap Motion released the Leap Motion Camera, the company fancied itself a software company first and foremost. Now, though, Leap Motion is transforming into a VR input technology company and doesn’t have plans to update the standalone camera. Leap Motion said we should expect to see its technology embedded in VR HMDs later this year.


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Vive Tracker Universal Tracking Device

At CES 2017, HTC revealed the Vive Tracker, a device that you can attach to any object that you want to bring into VR. The Vive Tracker pucks feature Lighthouse sensors, a USB port for charging and to pass data, and a set of FGPA contacts so you can map button inputs from peripherals such as rifles or pistols.

The Vive trackers are good for more than just accessory peripherals. At GDC 2017, we had the chance to try CloudGate Game's Island 359 with dino stomping action. CloudGate used three Vive Tracker pucks to bring our feet and torso into the game to offer a form of full-body motion tracking. The Vive Tracker pucks could even help you avoid stepping on your pets while you play games.

The Vive Tracker developer kits are available to registered Vive developers. HTC plans to release the Vive Trackers to consumers in late 2017.


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  • loki1944
    Reply
  • AgentLozen
    This is quite a list you've put together. I think most of these devices need software support by developers to work properly. If no one makes software for them, they'll never really catch on.

    As I read through this list of peripherals, it reminded me of all of the devices for the NES back in the 80's that were never properly used. The Angry Video Game Nerd has covered many of them if you're curious. Any one of these could be the next Power Glove.
    Reply