Last night’s Oculus Connect event brought along plenty of news for the Oculus Quest. Not only is the standalone VR headset getting a new accessory to essentially turn it into a PC-powered Rift, but an upcoming update will also allow the headset’s camera sensors to track your hands and fingers directly without a controller.
Controller-free hand tracking is coming in a software update at some point in 2020. The idea is to enable natural interaction with the virtual world through your hands, rather than a controller, all without need for external sensors or special hardware.
This project started off as a research endeavour at Facebook Reality Labs, using deep learning to understand and analyse the position of a user’s hands and fingers, as tracked by the Quest’s onboard cameras. That visual information is then used to enable interaction with VR games and apps.
Developers will need to enable this themselves, so you will still need to keep your Touch controllers handy in-case this concept doesn’t catch on, or if certain games don’t support it.
KitGuru Says: At this point, the Oculus Rift S is starting to seem more and more pointless, as the Quest is being positioned to supersede it with features. Still, I’m not entirely sure controller-free VR is the best way to go for games. Swinging a sword in VR for instance already feels somewhat weightless but at least you are holding on to something, rather than just clenching your fist. For media, PC apps and some experiences though, I could see this being a nice bonus.