see through HTC Vive Cosmos & Pro cameras

While playing VR Games, have you ever wondered how to see the real world using Vive camera vision?

Actually, there are some ways by which we can see through Vive VR devices like Vive Cosmos and Pro.


    How to see-through a camera in HTC Vive?

    There are multiple ways to see through the camera. One is by using SteamVR and another one is using the Vive console app.

    If you're using Cosmos Camera, you can use both methods.

    But for Pro cameras, you can enable it using the second method only. The first method doesn't work on Vive Pro cameras.

    Prerequisite

    Before getting started with any method please make sure that you have enabled the Camera from Privacy setting in Windows

    Please follow this path - 

    Open the Windows settings -> Privacy & Security -> Camera


    Method 1: Using an HTC Vive Console app(Work only on Vive Cosmos)

    To see directly from the Vive camera's vision, you need to download and install the HTC Vive console app on your PC. You can get it from here.

    1. Once all the installation things are done, just open the Vive console app

    2. Select the Three horizontal lines() and choose the Settings option

    3. Choose Video > Mirror VR Display > Display option as shown in the below picture

    mirror VR HTC Vive console app

    4. Then, choose any of the options:

        a) See real surroundings by pressing a Vive button on the Controller

        b) See real surroundings on movement within the Play area

    Then, according to your chosen option, you can enable the feature to see real-world objects while playing the actual VR Games.

    As we said, this functionality is limited to Vive cosmos devices. If you own Vive Pro or other VRs, we suggest you go for 2nd method.


    Method 2: Using a SteamVR app

    If the previous method didn't work for you or you have Vive Pro devices, probably you can use this method to enable see-through vision.

    1. Open the SteamVR app and select the Settings option

    2. then, choose the Camera option

    3. check the Enable Camera option

    Enable camera Chaperone tron mode from SteamVR settings

    4. Now restart the SteamVR and navigate to the Camera settings section again

    5. Now, here you will see new options like Allow camera for Room View, Allow camera for Chaperone mode, etc., added to the Camera section.

    6. You have to choose the Allow camera for Chaperone mode box

    Chaperone Tron Mode is basically the see-through VR world kind of mode. It captures the object through a camera and creates the monochrome blurry outlines of real work objects on a VR screen.


    Method 3: Using a default.vrsettings file

    Still, some people will face issues enabling the Chaperone mode through SteamVR Settings. Don't worry we can enable it through the vrsettings file also.

    1. Follow the path - C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\SteamVR\resources\settings\default.vrsettings and open vrsettings file 

    2. Open the file with any IDE, code editor, or Notepad

    3. Scroll down to the Camera dictionary

    Note: Before replacing any code in the vrsettings file, back up the entire file. So, it will help you to reset the file code easily if it gets corrupted.

    4. Replace the Camera json node with the following code

    "camera": {
            "enableCamera": true,
            "showOnController": true,
            "enableCameraForCollisionBounds": true,
    "enableCameraForRoomView": true,
            "cameraBoundsColorGammaR": 140,
            "cameraBoundsColorGammaG": 255,
            "cameraBoundsColorGammaB": 250,
            "cameraBoundsColorGammaA": 100
        },

    5. Save the file and restart the SteamVR app

    6. Now, open SteamVR and open the Display Mirror

    7. then, choose the Room View from the SteamVR Dashboard top menus

    You'll be able to see through the game screen display using a Vive camera! But the vision will look like night vision glasses.

    Bonus tip:

    If you want to use different colors in the Camera see-through view, you can replace the code with the following sets.

    Green - 

    "cameraBoundsColorGammaR": 50,
    "cameraBoundsColorGammaG": 0,
    "cameraBoundsColorGammaB": 255,
    "cameraBoundsColorGammaA": 0

    Yellowish-Orange - 

    "cameraBoundsColorGammaR": 248,
    "cameraBoundsColorGammaG": 177,
    "cameraBoundsColorGammaB": 30,
    "cameraBoundsColorGammaA": 100

    As you change the code and restart the SteamVR, it will start reflecting changes in the VR Screen.


    FIX: Can't see through the HTC Vive Camera?

    What to do if you can not see through the HTC Vive Rear Camera even after applying? You can do the following things.

    We'll try two different methods to resolve the HTC Vive see-through camera issue - through SteamVR USB reset settings and another one is using 

    Method 1: Through SteamVR USB reset settings

    The solution for this issue is simple, you just need to reset physical and in-software connections again.

    1. Remove the Vive Display port wire from your PC

    2. Open the Developer settings from SteamVR

    3. Select Remove all SteamVR USB Devices and close everything

    4. Now, Reboot your PC as usual

    Plug the Vive console and controller back into your Windows PC. Check whether the Camera is working or not!


    Method 2: Using Reset Camera frequency settings

    Another method to fix the issue is using Reset Camera frequency settings to 60 Hz or reset all the settings to default.

    1. Open the SteamVR app and navigate to give path - SteamVR > Settings > Camera

    2. Here under the Camera section, you'll find the Slider bar to adjust the Camera frequency

    3. Set the Camera Rate to 60 Hz

    4. or you can reset the entire SteamVR settings to Default

    Now, try to open the Passthrough mode from your HTC Vive console. It will work!


    Conclusion

    So, the Conclusion for the above guide is that there are three different ways to see through HTC Vive VR device cameras like Cosmos and Pro models.

    So you can use the HTC Vive console app which is the default software provided by HTC Corp., or the SteamVR app.

    There's another way to see through the default camera is by editing the default.vrsettings file.

    The HTC Vive console app method only works with Cosmos. So for other headsets, you can try the remaining two methods.

    I found the 3rd method most helpful, coz you can customize the view of a camera through the vrsettings file. Also, it works for almost all Vive devices.

    Now, it's up to you which method you follow and which is suitable for you.


    FAQs:

    What is the FOV of HTC Vive Cosmos?

    As per HTC Vive and other trusted sources, the FOV (Field of View/Vision) of an HTC Vive Cosmos is wide i.e. 110°.

    But, HTC Vive Cosmos actually provides FOV between 93° to 97°.


    How do you wear the HTC Vive with glasses?

    You don't need to worry about it if you've spex. HTC Vive headsets are designed in such a way that they fit perfectly even for faces with glasses.

    Even though I've glasses, Vive headsets fit perfectly for me.