HTC’s Vive face tracker adds lip and tongue scanning to VR — this is creepy

HTC Vive Facial Tracker
(Image credit: HTC)

HTC has unveiled a new accessory for Vive Pro owners that will be able to track facial movements, including lips, jaw, teeth, tongue, chin and cheeks.  

The Vive Facial Tracker uses two cameras and an infrared illuminator to capture and track up to 38 various facial movements and muscle undulations. The Vive Facial tracker launches March 24 for $129.99 

The facial tracker has a 60Hz  dual camera with "accurate high-performance, responsive tracking," according to a press release trumpeting the release of the Vive Facial Tracker. HTC also encourages users to combine the Vive Facial Tracker, Vive Tracker, and the Vive Pro Eye for a full "head-to-toe" VR experience. 

In addition to the Vive Facial Tracker, HTC also showed the third iteration of the Vive Tracker, which is able to track body movements while also clocking in as a bit smaller than its predecessor. The Vive Tracker also has the ability to provide more battery length and a 240-degree field-of-view. 

Per UploadVR, the first mention of lip tracking from HTC was back in 2019 at that year's Game Developers Conference. At the time, the company said it had no plans to release lip-tracking technology. This can help move things along in having a more realistic presence in terms of avatars, which is what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been promoting.

With virtual reality becoming more profitable, other companies like Valve and Facebook continue to invest in the technology. Competition is also coming in from Korea, with Samsung releasing its Odyssey headset last year. And now rumors are swirling that Apple is working on a mixed-reality headset as well. 

Ron Lyons, Jr. is a freelance writer. His beats include culture, entertainment and technology, and he has written about everything from Xbox to Netflix for Tom's Guide. His bylines include Slate Magazine, Insider, and the 101.9 WDET. Whenever he’s not writing stories, he’s playing video games and listening to music on Spotify.