Base Stations also known as Beacons, are devices that are part of the Lighthouse positional tracking system for the SteamVR. Developed by Valve, the small rectangular boxes are placed in the tracking area and serve as reference points for any HMDs and input devices tracked by the Lighthouse. Base Stations perform this function by constantly flooding the room with a non-visible light. The receptors on the tracked devices would intercept the light and figure out where they are in relation to the Base Stations.
In the current SteamVR system, 2 Base Stations are placed in the opposite corners of a 15 by 15 feet room, near the ceiling, to maximize tracking volume and minimize occlusion. Additional Base Stations can be placed in the tracking area to further increase the tracking volume and reduce occlusion.
Base Stations are designed to last 50,000 hours (2083 days or 5.7 years).
HTC Vive Pre
HTC Vive Pre introduced smaller, quieter and sleeker Base Stations with improved tracking. The Base Station has tripod threading allowing them to set up as tripods and be more mobile. Additionally, they can now sync wirelessly.
This version of Base Station uses Nidec’s FDB motors. The motors use Nidec’s advanced FDB (Fluid Dynamic Bearing) technology, originally developed for HDD spindle motors, to achieve high rotational precision, long life and low vibration.