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January 31, 2017

VR Pro Tip 2 - Traveling with the HTC Vive

UPDATED - OCTOBER 2017

At the Optera Group, we are seeing a big upswing in the number of businesses using the HTC Vive (“Vive”) as a field-based VR tool.   Typically they’re getting sent to trade shows, demos at customer sites or rotating through remote offices.

While the Vive is a consumer product, it does take a good number of components to make it work.  Traveling – especially flying - adds a bit more complexity to your Vive setup.

Having put some serious travel miles on the Vive in the past year, Optera has found a great “travel kit” of equipment for the Vive.  Below is our list of gear that travels well – along with some tips to make it work great on the road.

Optera’s HTC Vive Travel Kit 

If packed smartly, the following should fit into a single travel road case that can be checked as luggage at the airport.

  • Computer - Dell Alienware 17 Gaming Laptop. We strongly recommend a laptop for travel/ shipping situations.  There are too many things that can go wrong with shipping a tower computer.  We have had mother boards and graphics cards fail during shipping. Laptops simply travel better and minimize risk.  We always recommend taking laptops as a carry on.
  • Case – Pelican Storm Case IM2950.  This is rugged travel case that fits the gear below perfectly.  Historically, this case is considered regular sized luggage without oversize bag fees.  Pelican also makes a great lid organizer to keep your cables and other small parts organized.  You can have a professional case builder custom cut foam to precisely hold all this gear or the pick and pluck foam works great.

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  • Stands – Arri AS-1 Lightweight Stands (2). With the Vive you want a sturdy stand to keep the Lighthouses stables. If the stands pick up floor vibrations your entire experience can vibrate for the user. We have tested a lot of different stands and these are very stable. While a bit pricy, the Arri’s are the pro’s choice for a reason and fit perfectly in the bottom of the Pelican case.
  • Sandbags – Matthews 5lb Sandbag, Black (2) – Hanging the sandbags at the top of the Arri stands helps stabilize them from floor vibrations.  The key is to hang them as high on the stand as you can.  They deaden vibration and dampen sway at the top of the stand.
  • Clips – Impact Ball Head Clips (2) – These are super versatile and attach your Lighthouses to the Arri stands via the mini-ball head.  Also, you can clip them to all kinds of objects - in case you can’t use your stands.   When you travel, it is great to have backup options and these give you a lot of options. Just take the hot shoe adapter off and the Lighthouse threads right on to the ¼ 20 stud.
  • Power Strip – Furman SS6B – You are going to need power and the Furman is great  The power strip has a 15-foot cord that comes in handy.
Other small items to consider:
  • Gaffers tape
  • Extra Lighthouse
  • Extension cord (10 to 20 foot in black)
  • Small flashlight
  • Small tool kit (screwdrivers, needle nose pliers and a pocket knife)
  • Zip ties or Velcro wraps
  • An extra set of USB and other cables
  • Black sheet – flat twin/ full bed sheet. The Pelican case can be used as a great platform to lift the laptop up for better viewing. The sheet is perfect cover to hide the case or other gear.
  • Alcohol wipes to clean up all your gear

If you have any questions or need help putting a travel kit together, give us a ring.  We’d be happy to help.

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