At the beginning of 2017, I wrote about what I thought might be the year’s most important virtual reality technology: tracking cameras that would work from inside, not outside, a VR headset. And the results weren’t great.

Almost every inside-out tracking system I tried was uncomfortable, most of them were barely functional, and none of them seemed anywhere near as good as more traditional high-end headsets. It seemed like VR would have to take a step back before it could move forward.

At the end of 2017, there’s still no inside-out headset that’s as polished as the Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, or HTC Vive, which use external tracking systems. But Microsoft and Samsung have convinced me that one might be on the way. The Samsung HMD Odyssey is one of five headsets based on Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality platform, and unlike the platform’s earliest wave of development kits, it comes bundled with Microsoft’s motion controllers.

It works on computers running the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, as long as they meet the requirements that are posted here. The list price is $499, which is slightly less than the $599 Vive and more than the $399 Rift — making the Odyssey the most expensive of Microsoft’s partner headsets.

Like all Windows Mixed Reality headsets, the Odyssey tracks head and controller motion with two front-mounted cameras. You plug in the Odyssey’s USB and HDMI cables, then launch a “Mixed Reality Portal” built into the Creators Update. Read more from…

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