HTC Vive's front-facing camera just got more useful

One thing that I love about using my HTC Vive is the front-facing camera. It might seem like a strange feature to get excited about, but when your eyes are completely covered, having a camera in front of them really helps. You can actually turn on a special mode that allows you to see a rough outline of everything around you, at certain times. This is great for grabbing a drink or a snack, without having to take off the headset.

So far, there are really only two ways that the camera is used. The first is the mode I mentioned above. The second is the ability to have a small screen located next to one of your controllers. When this is activated, you can look down at your controller, and see everything in front of you, as if it were enclosed in a window. The reason these are the only two uses for the camera is that Valve hasn't given developers access to it, through their SDK.

Earlier this week the company decided that it was time to open up this bit of hardware, so that developers can use it within their games. I'm content with the ways that the camera is used currently, but I'm also excited to see just how developers are able to incorporate it into gameplay.

The developers won't have complete access to the camera at first. Currently, they're just getting access to the poll streaming frames and HMD pose information. Valve's plan appears to be to slowly give developers access to more and more tools through the OpenVR platform over time. So it's likely that we will see full access to the camera sometime in the future.

VIA: Tom's Hardware