SteamVR Tracking HDK

SteamVR Tracking HDK

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Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why isn’t Valve charging licensing fees for this technology?

A. We believe that the largest value for our customers and for Valve will come from allowing SteamVR Tracking to proliferate as widely as possible. The existence of more SteamVR-compatible devices will make the SteamVR community more valuable for customers and developers. Having a wide community of hardware developers pushing the platform forward will result in innovations that we Valve would never think of or pursue on our own. Also, all SteamVR devices and hardware components will become cheaper if more of them get made.

Q. What’s the catch?

A. No catch - it’s just the best tracking tech out there, and you can have it for use in your product. There is a cost for the introductory class, so that’s kind of a catch if you want to call it one. But: No licensing fees! No royalties! See the SteamVR Tracking page for details.

Q. Why aren’t you letting third-parties build their own versions of SteamVR base stations?

A. For now we need to make sure that there is complete compatibility among base stations and tracked devices. Longer term, we do want the hardware community to help us evolve base station design and to help innovate in that area, but given our own limited bandwidth we need to push that collaboration out to some future date.

Q. Where do I get sensors for tracked objects? How many can I buy?

A. You can get them from our ASIC partner Triad Semiconductor, and you can buy as many as you want. Email Triad at for more information.

Q. Can I sell my product wherever I want? Do I need Valve to approve my product?

A. Yes, you can sell your own products wherever you want. No, you don’t need Valve’s review and approval to ship your product, but you do need to comply with the license to be able to use our technology, brands, names, or trademarks.

Q. Where can I find all the details on how to build SteamVR Tracking devices?

A. Once you sign up as a licensee here, you will gain access to an application on Steam called SteamVR Tracking HDK. That install includes all of the documentation, design files, and training materials you need in English and Simplified Chinese.

Q: Do I need permission from anyone besides Valve to use SteamVR Tracking?

A. You only need Valve’s permission to use SteamVR Tracking, worldwide. You may use SteamVR Tracking to create an HMD, controller or other tracked object.

Q. How do I get approval for my project?

A: You don’t need approval for your project. Once you agree to the license, what you build is up to you.

Q. What can I build with SteamVR Tracking?

A: That’s up to you. As long as your gizmo connects to a computer running SteamVR you can build whatever you want.

Last edited by Programmer Joe; Oct 19, 2017 @ 9:53am
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Showing 1-6 of 6 comments
Qoobit Jan 17, 2018 @ 4:18am 
I'm kind of lost without proper documentation or tutorial videos for the HDK. I tried applying for the course via triad but they cancelled it last time I asked about it. As of now I have the SteamVR Tracking HDK installed, licensee approved, and the HDK in my hands connected with 3 pieces and dongle in the USB drive and some strips of sensors attached. I fired up the SteamVR Tracking HDK which is actually called "HMD Designer GUI" in the python program and imported a sample STL. Beyond there I'm lost. Here are my questions in no logical order:

1) Are there videos of the whole setup process/or courses still available?
2) What the other IO ports on the dev board in the EVM Application Board for? are there proper technical documentations for all the components?
3) Does the whole HDK setup need to be USB powered? Or can it be on a power bank and communicate wirelessly to the supplied watchman dongle?
4) How do you setup the orientation of the sensors (ie. transform position/rotation and count) so that the tracking of the object can be calibrated properly?
5) Are there IO ports like the Vive Tracker for simulating the button presses on the Vive controller? or options to setup to a breakout board for vibrations?
The information for me was not new, but interesting enough. Many of this has already been described by you of the "Old" "Themes".
antipiracylaws Mar 22, 2019 @ 12:33pm 
Hello World!

Qoobit, are you still having issues setting up?
Are you using the first version of the HDK?
Qoobit Mar 24, 2019 @ 8:01am 
I ended up finding all the necessary documentation in the Steam download folder. It has schematics amongst other information listed in there. The biggest issue is actually that the flex cables are of limited length and have poor attachments to the PCB. With a little bit of tug force it disconnects. This means you can't bend it too much to adjust the sensors to be exactly where you would like them to be. Also, the suggested vendors can only provide flex cables at roughly 2x the provided length. I've been making recent trips to huaqiangbei in shenzhen but I've yet to find a custom flex cable supplier that does cables to the spec of the HDK. I will bring some samples next time I go visit.
antipiracylaws Mar 25, 2019 @ 11:51am 

Good to hear you've found what you needed in terms of documentation in the download folder.
PCB Way is now offering flex cables with assembly, so that is an option.

Which version of the HDK are you using? Shoto or original 3-piece HDK?
Qoobit Apr 13, 2019 @ 9:59pm 
The original 3 piece HDK. We haven't prioritized our R&D lately to the HDK though as we've just been working and prototyping mostly with trackers and their relevant pogo pins at the moment. We still would like to figure out all these things down to hardware level and maybe even try out the Shoto at some point. Everything seems to be getting smaller so really looking forward to trying out new things down the line. Our small company is comprised of mostly software engineers so we're learning the hardware side as we go along.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 comments
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