HTC Vive Cosmos: all about the mysterious modular VR headset

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Adriana Gil
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Summary

  • HTC Vive Cosmos: a VR headset for PC… and smartphone
  • HTC Vive Cosmos: a modular virtual reality headset
  • HTC Vive Cosmos: an inside-out tracking system without external sensors
  • HTC Vive Cosmos: an original design and pratique
  • HTC Vive Cosmos: new controllers similar to those of Oculus
  • HTC Vive Cosmos: a better screen than the Vive Pro
  • HTC Vive Cosmos: a new OS Vive Reality System
  • HTC Vive Cosmos: price and release date

At CES 2019 in Las Vegas, HTC Vive unveiled two new VR headsets. While the Vive Pro Eye is just an update to the Vive Pro with eye-tracking, the Vive Cosmos is a brand new device. During his presentation, few details were released, but more information has come to light over the months. Discover everything you don't know about the HTC Vive Cosmos right now.



HTC Vive Cosmos: a VR headset for PC… and smartphone

Unlike the Vive Focus, the HTC Vive Cosmos is not a standalone VR headset. It is a VR headset for PC, just like the Vive and Vive Pro. According to the Ars Technica website, the connection to the PC is made using a VirtualLink connector.

However, HTC suggests that it can also be used with other devices for mobile use. In the CES 2019 presentation trailer, we can see a smartphone near the VR headset. We can deduce that it will be possible to connect the Vive Cosmos to a smartphone to use while traveling. Moreover, VirtualLink (USB-C) connectors can be connected to a PC as well as to a smartpone ...


This would make it possible to harness the power of the smartphones that we have in our pockets to power the VR headset. It would also be possible to take advantage of the new 5G network to view streaming content. Moreover, HTC often evokes its ambition to exploit 5G to allow the streaming of virtual reality ...


HTC Vive Cosmos: a modular virtual reality headset

The official Vive Cosmos website states that this helmet is modular and customizable. It will most certainly be the main feature of this device, although no further details have been revealed so far.

We can assume that a series of accessories will be offered to customize or improve the Vive Cosmos. For example, it might be possible to opt for an audio headset, to choose between different protective foams, to pay for corrective lenses, or even for an eye-tracking module. Knowing that the front can be removed easily, maybe several interchangeable colors will be offered.

This modular character could also help improve helmet components over time to increase performance, just like a PC. For example, it might be possible to replace the processor, the screen or even add RAM ...

HTC Vive Cosmos: an inside-out tracking system without external sensors

You will understand, the Vive Cosmos will be a VR headset for PC in the same way as the Vive and the Vive Pro. However, while the Vive and Vive Pro tracking system relies on external SteamVR Lighthouse sensors to be placed in the room, the Vive Cosmos will offer an inside-out tracking system.

This means that the movements and position of the headset and controllers will be followed by the four cameras integrated on the front of the helmet. There will be no need for external sensors.


The use and installation of the Vive Cosmos will therefore be greatly simplified. Nevertheless, the tracking will be 6DoF and players will therefore be able to enjoy six-degree freedom of movement. Their movements will be followed 360 degrees in the room.


HTC Vive Cosmos: an original design and pratique

From the first glance, one of the strengths of the HTC Vive Cosmos is its innovative design. Indeed it is possible to raise the screen to quickly get back to the real world.

To return to the virtual world, simply lower the screen. With this helmet, there will therefore be no need to tear the helmet off your head just to take a look outside or make three clicks on the PC!

HTC Vive Cosmos: new controllers similar to those of Oculus

The HTC Vive Cosmos is also getting rid of the HTC Vive's Vive Wands controllers. This VR headset is equipped with new controllers, which look a lot like those on Facebook's Oculus Quest.

We find in fact a tracking ring which wraps the user's hand. In addition, the trackpad is replaced by an analog joystick. There are also two buttons and a Home button, as well as a trigger.

Ergonomics and possibilities for interactions should therefore be greatly increased compared to Vive and Vive Pro. We also appreciate the pretty patterns that adorn these controllers ...

HTC Vive Cosmos: a better screen than the Vive Pro

The technical characteristics of the Vive Cosmos have not yet been revealed. However, on the Cosmos website, we learn that it will offer ”The most detailed screen so far“.



Everything therefore suggests that this screen could offer a better definition than that of the HTC Vive Pro. As a reminder, the definition of Vive Pro is 2880 × 1600 (1440 × 1600 per eye).

HTC Vive Cosmos: a new OS Vive Reality System

In addition to the new hardware, the Vive Cosmos will operate under a brand new software platform. Unveiled at CES 2019, the Vive Reality System is an operating system designed for virtual reality.

This platform will serve both user interface and social network. Users will be able to purchase and launch VR experiences, access a VR web browser, and get together with friends.

The Vive Cosmos will be the first helmet to operate under this platform, but other compatible devices will be released later. Note that the Cosmos will still be compatible with SteamVR.

HTC Vive Cosmos: price and release date

HTC Vive Cosmos will be launched 2019 , but it is not known for the moment on what precise date. Knowing that the HTC Vive Pro Eye is expected in the first half of 2019, it seems logical that the Cosmos is launched in the second half.

Regarding the price, no details have been communicated yet. If it is a device intended for the general public, it will be probably cheaper than the HTC Vive Pro at 879 euros. However, if its screen is actually better than the Pro's, it could cost even more ...



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