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Project Proton, here is HTC's Lite XR viewer: between virtual and augmented reality

If it is true that HTC is betting on the future VR with the modular Vive Cosmos headset, at the moment it is content to release a more Lite version, called Project Proton, which the CEO Yves Maitre declares to be β€œvery, very close to the normal model. Judging by the renderings that appeared on the net, it seems to be one of the most compact models ever appreciated on the market.

In a statement sent to Engadget, a company representative said that "Project Proton is a prototype of a future HTC Vive XR device on which the company hopes to receive feedback from the community while continuing to work on the product." In short, it is a Lite version that will help the development team to finalize the final product, that long-awaited modular Cosmos. In any case, Project Proton confirms HTC's intention to shift attention to mixed reality viewers, in addition to adding 5G connectivity, both internal and external, to its future viewers.

The Proton project covers two form factors: on the one hand an all-in-one headset that the company currently calls "Proton AIO" and an "all-in-two" headset called "Proton Glass". At a close look, both headsets seem to have front stereo cameras that are probably intended for internal tracking, although it is also possible that they are used for passthrough vision of the outside world. The visors are incredibly thin, so both visors should weigh considerably less than current devices.

Project Proton, here is HTC's Lite XR viewer

Unlike the Vive Focus, the Proton AIO's processing unit appears to be housed on the back of the headband, which further reduces the size of the visor, offering better weight distribution.

HTC Proton Glass

As for Proton Glass, designed to be powered by an external processing module, such as a smartphone. It is a sort of competitor to Nreal Light, except for the fact that it can be used by VR for a more engaging vision. Given the apparent lack of speakers, it is not clear where the audio comes from; probably from old and dear plug-in headsets.

Project Proton, here is HTC's Lite XR viewer

Although there are still many questions about the future of the project, this appears to be a promising path for HTC. There is no certainty of how and how much the Vive Cosmos modular series can HTC against the increasingly versatile experience offered by Oculus Quest and the powerful Valve Index.

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