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(Pocket-lint) - HTC is at GDC 2019 announcing a lip-tracking module for the HTC Vive Pro virtual reality headset.

The company has no plans to launch a consumer version of the device. It only wants to make the module, which will gather precise data about how a user’s mouth is moving, available for "research and experimentation", according to Road to VR. This data could be used for accurately animating in real time an avatar’s facial expressions, motion capture, or research related to speech and body language.

HTC revealed few other details about the lip-tracking module, but reports have suggested it involves a camera, which is mounted underneath the Vive Pro visor, facing a user’s mouth. It might hook to the Vive Pro's hidden USB port for power and data transfer, though it could also wirelessly communicate with a PC. Either way, it's interesting to see HTC explore different ways of tracking a user.

It's already shown interest in eye-tracking with the Vive Pro Eye. Imagine that combined with this module; both eyes and mouth could be animated together, providing a more realistic avatar experience. But, like we said, there's no plans for a consumer launch at this time.

The lip-tracking module will reportedly work with a facial tracking SDK for developers that's coming soon. We'll keep you posted as we learn more.

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on 18 March 2019.