Use the World's Best 3D Tracking Technology, Royalty Free
SteamVR® Tracking
Whether you're building a VR golf club or an indoor quad-copter, 3D tracking is the heart of your product. Developed in-house at Valve, SteamVR Tracking is a hardware/software solution that lets your devices know in real time where they are, within a room. Valve is now making SteamVR Tracking fully available to other companies, without licensing fees.
SteamVR Tracking has three main components:
  • 120° multi-axis laser emitter
  • Aside from power, fully self-contained - no cable connection to the host or tracked objects
  • 2 base-stations can be used for 360° coverage
  • Lightweight, low power, low cost ASIC sensors
  • Up to 32 sensors per object for full 360° coverage
  • Software toolkit to calculate optimal sensor placement
  • Built-in 1000Hz IMU for low latency, high resolution tracking
  • Wireless communication with host for cable-free peripherials
  • Integrates 3D positional information from multiple devices. For now, this means a PC.
  • SteamVR API for accurate timing, synchronization, and prediction
  • Compatibility with Steam and access to the full SteamVR catalog
How It Works
The SteamVR Tracking Basestations sweep the room with multiple sync pulses and laser lines, reaching out to about 5 meters. By keeping careful track of the timings between pulses and sweeps, the SteamVR Tracking system uses simple trigonometry to find the location of each sensor to within a fraction of a millimeter. By combining multiple sensors, 2 basestations, as well as adding a high speed IMU (inertial measurement unit), SteamVR also calculates the tracked object's orientation, velocity, and angular velocity, all at an update rate of 1000Hz.

A proven solution - used in the HTC Vive
From prototype in late 2014 to consumer delivery in early 2016, the HTC Vive is the world’s leading virtual reality experience. Built on top of the SteamVR tracking technology, the HTC Vive provides a unique, Room-Scale, 360° VR experience, used by hundreds of developers and hundreds of thousands of gamers world-wide to experience the latest VR games. The SteamVR Tracking component of the HTC Vive has been updated frequently with new features, optimizations, and bug fixes. Throughout the product launch and through innumerable game application updates, it has continued to provide the world’s best VR experience.
Benefits for your product
360° Coverage (2 base stations)
Occlusion-resistant whole-room tracking volumes.
Unified coordinates for multiple tracked objects.
Scalable; single or multi-user multi-object by design.
Sub-millimeter accuracy
Extremely fine interactions supported.
High update rates
250Hz to 1kHz tracking to support a variety of real-time applications.
Low latency
Smooth real-time tracking even under high-acceleration conditions.
Low sensor cost
Low total cost of implementation per tracked device.
Licensee Dev Kit
Dev Kit Contents
  • A modular reference tracked object suitable for attaching to prototype devices
  • Full complement of EVM circuit boards to enable rapid prototyping of your own tracked object
  • 40 individual sensors for building your own tracked object
  • Accessories to enable custom prototypes
  • Software toolkit to assist with optimal sensor placement
  • Calibration tools for prototyping and manufacturing
  • Schematics and layouts for all electronic components
  • Mechanical designs for the reference tracked object and accessories
  • Datasheets for the sensor ASICs
Getting off the ground
Although SteamVR Tracking is a robust and reliable system, it can also be a complicated set of technologies to fold into your product design. Valve has limited bandwidth to provide licensee support, but wants to make sure that licensees are not constrained by that limitation. To that end Valve has partnered with Synapse to provide onboarding and educational and consulting services for all SteamVR Tracking licensees.

For now, Valve requires at least one individual representative from each licensee company to attend this in-person training program. (In the future, in-person training may not be a requirement of licensees.) The tuition for this program, paid to Synapse, will be approximately $3000 USD per participant. Classes are ongoing. An up to date schedule of classes can be found on the SteamVR Tracking forums.

Training is a combined lecture and lab. Topics will include
  • Designing tracked shapes
  • Simulation tools
  • Generating and optimizing sensor placement
  • Object testing and calibration
  • SteamVR integration
  • Troubleshooting
  • Electrical and mechanical design considerations

SteamVR Tracking training is designed to propel your design team into the world of SteamVR Tracking. Through a series of lectures and labs, engineers gain not only a solid foundation in the theory of SteamVR Tracking, but also hands on experience in each aspect of tracked object design and integration. Courses cover topics from initial concept generation, simulation, and prototyping, through software integration, calibration, and troubleshooting. Attendees walk away with the hardware, software, experience and confidence to immediately begin designing their own tracked objects.

Intended training audience

Attendees should be familiar with the HTC Vive, having spent enough time using the technology to be comfortable with it. Training is targeted at industrial designers, mechanical engineers, and electrical engineers. Licensees must send at least one person to the training program, but we recommend a group representing the above disciplines.

Get started.

  • Get enrolled in SteamVR Tracking training, with access to all training materials and documentation.
  • Get access to the full Dev Kit, including all the hardware and tools listed above.
  • Get access to licensee dev forum.
  • Then, use all of the above to ship your product!

If you’re ready to take advantage of all the above, and your company is ready to sign the SteamVR Tracking license agreement, then click below and get started today. Also read the FAQ over in our SteamVR Tracking developer discussion forum.
I'm ready! What are the next steps?
1. Create a Steam account (or sign into your existing account)

2. Sign up as a Steam partner

3. Sign up as a SteamVR Tracking licensee

4. Nice job, now just sit back and wait to hear back about the training schedule!