Oculus Quest ditches controllers with hand tracking next year

Eric Abent - Sep 25, 2019, 12:41pm CDT
Oculus Quest ditches controllers with hand tracking next year

Oculus Connect 6 is underway, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had a lot to say about the company’s newest VR headset, the standalone Oculus Quest. In addition to touting the Quest’s success thus far, Zuckerberg also revealed that Oculus Quest will soon be capable of hand tracking. That, importantly, means that users will soon be able to leave the controllers behind and use their Quest with only their hands.

It seems like a pretty ambitious goal, but at the moment Facebook and Oculus are targeting an early 2020 date for testing. Sometime early next year, Oculus will release Quest hand tracking as an experimental feature for users and as an SDK for developers, allowing them to begin creating apps and games that employ the new feature.

Oculus explains that hand tracking began life as a research project at Facebook Reality Labs. “Our computer vision team developed a new method of using deep learning to understand the position of your fingers using just the monochrome cameras on the Quest today – no active depth-sensing cameras, additional sensors, or extra processor required,” Oculus wrote on its blog today.

Unfortunately for us, we didn’t get to see an on-stage demo of hand tracking during Zuckerberg’s keynote today, but the company did release a brief video that shows us the feature in action. It works mostly as you’d expect it to, showing virtual versions of the user’s hands in-game or in-app and allowing them to reach out and grab or touch objects in the virtual world.

For now, we’ll have to settle for this brief look at Oculus Quest hand tracking. Facebook and Oculus say that they’ll have more details for us in the coming months, so we’ll be keeping an eye out for those. Stay tuned.

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