The device shown, which continues to bet on SteamVR Tracking, has two front cameras, Vive Pro style support and lenses that suggest a higher FOV.
A Reddit user has found in the Imgur portal an album that shows several images of what appears to be a new prototype of Valve virtual reality viewer, as the company logo appears on the faceplate we can see in the picture below.
The Valve logo appears in the upper left corner of the printed circuit board.
Looking only at the front of this supposed prototype, the first thing that catches our attention is the presence of two front cameras that could well be to offer the alternative of absolute positioning inside-out, in addition to hand tracking and the option of augmented/mixed reality, two functions that HTC was already exploring with the cameras of Vive Pro. However, this does not mean that the viewfinder is not compatible with the tracking Lighthouse of Valve, since, if we look just above the printed circuit in the part of the plastic, we can clearly see the circles of 4 SteamVR sensors (two on each side). These also appear on the side and bottom.
Lens comparison between Vive Pro (image above) and Valve prototype.
Although the images are not in the same position or distance, they help us to appreciate how the new lenses of the Valve prototype appear to be larger, which could suggest that this device has more than 110º of FOV. In addition, it gives the feeling that they also have fresnel rings. It should be remembered that last year the company launched new components as part of its hardware license program, among which we found LCD and OLED screens and custom lenses capable of offering up to 120º of viewing angle, a figure that in this past year could even have expanded (in fact, according to UploadVR sources, they speak of 135º). As for the screen, it also gives the feeling that they could be larger, although without reaching what we have seen with viewers like the new Pimax.
Fastening system similar to Vive Pro.
The front has in the center what could be a hole for USB expansion, or maybe just missing a piece to assemble. This last image allows us to appreciate the fastening system reminiscent of the Vive Pro with the rigid frame on the sides, the soft strap on its top and the integrated headphones. In turn, the fastening confirms that the HMD in theory would be for PC, because it has on the right the plastic guide through which the cable is inserted to achieve better ergonomics. As for the padding of the fastening (back), the material seems to be the same as that shown in the last revision of the Knuckles controllers.
Images show multiple units of this Valve prototype.
As we can see from the latest images, they have not made a single viewer, but have several units, something that could suggest that they were developer kits as they have been doing with Knuckles controllers. All photos shown are apparently from July of this year, as this is indicated by Windows time in this image.
We do not know if this prototype, which seems to be real, will become a commercial product, since as we indicated it could be part of the tests carried out by the company in its hardware license program. Now, in case of going on sale, the natural step and to which we have accustomed, would be that it was the same HTC who took it to the market. Tobii already indicated last month that they were designing the eye-tracking hardware for a new viewfinder from a “leading manufacturer” and that they expected to supply the parts next year, so it could be this prototype that would still lack the components for eye-tracking. UploadVR also points out that according to its sources, next year this viewer would arrive with the Knuckles and a Half-Life game, a rumor that we ourselves have also recently heard from other sources.