HTC recently launched their newest consumer headset, and it heavily relies on the insidious tracking to perform with the functionality it does. Like many inside-out tracking headsets, the cameras are high-quality for the passthrough that is enabled when you are close to the edge of the play area. Most people wouldn’t think twice about this, but with Facebook constantly being sketchy about which information they hold onto and which information they use, it is always a good time to be skeptical about what major companies are doing with your information. 

The original tracking for the Vive and Vive Pro are done by SteamVR Tracking that relies on infrared lasers that shoot out and detect the headset and the controllers. There is not a single camera in this setup and it is clear that privacy was a topic of discussion when these trackers were produced. 

We know HTC’s goal wasn’t to spy on us with these insidious tracking, but they might be gathering information with the headsets ability to see your surroundings with incredibly high detail. Facebook uses this to map out guardians so you don’t have to draw new ones everywhere you go, but have yet to see the same thing come from HTC and the Vive Cosmos. 

Roadtovr reached out to Vive to ask a few good questions about what they plan on using the cameras for, something that wasn’t covered too heavily in the legal documents for the Vive and Cosmos. 

You can find the questions below. 


How is the data from the cameras used specifically (ie: where and how is it processed?)

VIVE Cosmos uses its built-in cameras and sensors in order to operate the inside-out tracking function, including establishing boundary displays and viewing the feature points of your surroundings. The cameras scan your environment as it creates a map of feature points in your VR play space, however, this map cannot revert to an actual environment picture. This data is encrypted, stored locally on the device and is not transmitted anywhere other than the headset or PC.

Is data from the cameras stored? (if so where?)

The data used for mapping your environment will be stored only on the local device (HMD).

Is data from the cameras transmitted anywhere other than the headset or PC? (ie: to HTC or anywhere else on the internet)?


Is there any clear indication when the cameras on the headset are active and when they aren’t?

Yes, the LED indicator on the HMD will show a green light when cameras are active.

If a hacker gained root-access to the headset, is there anything that would prevent them from being able to access data from the cameras?

Yes [there is something to prevent it], the data, your room map with feature points, is encrypted.

Can developers access camera data in any way?

Currently, developers cannot access VIVE Cosmos camera data.

With regards to hand-tracking (which has been demonstrated with Cosmos), is this tracking solved on the headset as well or does the data need to go to the PC/host device for processing

At this time, we have no information to share on hand-tracking for VIVE Cosmos.


If you are interested in reading over the legal documents for this headset, we have included those as well. Although it doesn’t come as a surprise that HTC is only going to be storing information locally, it doesn’t say that they don’t have access to those files after they have been uploaded. For more VR news and updates, make sure to check back at


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