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.
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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".
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