Here's your first look at the Oculus Rift VR gloves in action

Where we're going we don't need controllers
Oculus Rift VR gloves shown in action

Oculus has finally started bundling its Touch controllers with every Rift, but one day you won't even need them. We'd already got a glimpse at a pair of VR gloves that Oculus VR was working on, and now we have a look at them in action.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg teased the gloves back in February when he treated us to a peek inside the Oculus research lab. Now, in a blog post from Oculus chief scientist Michael Abrash, we've got to see them being put to use, while Abrash touches on a range of challenges that VR development comes up against.

Read this: Oculus bosses talk Rift 'Phase 2'

That includes a video demonstration that Abrash calls the "single most convincing illustration that the reality we experience is nothing more than a best guess" - worth checking out. When it comes to hand tracking, Abrash says that to get to the level of hand tracking seen below we need retroreflector-covered gloves covered in cameras. "Unfortunately, hands have about 25 degrees of freedom and lots of self-occlusion."

The video indeed shows off some mighty precise tracking, but in this current form it would presumably be prohibitively expensive and/or demand a lot more room sensors.

When I recently sat down with Michael Buckwald, CEO of hand-tracking company Leap Motion, I did ask him if tracking gloves would prove a more accurate alternative to Leap's solution (which tracks your hands as they are). His answer was that he believed people would rather forego haptics than choose to wear a glove in VR. Ultimately, it's a trade-off of immersion; we can't have it all, at least until invisible haptics holograms have been solved (it's a thing, look it up!).

It's worth putting aside some time to read through the entirety of Abrash's post, which also includes a video demonstrating where real-time face tracking is today. "Faces are the most expressive part of the body," writes Abrash, "with a great deal of subtle flexibility, and are perhaps the greatest of all human tracking problems".

Here's your first look at the Oculus Rift VR gloves in action



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