Sony just bought SoftKinetic and its VR hand tracking tech

Keeping up with the Oculuses
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All the big VR players are lining up their hand tracking tech and Sony is no exception. Oculus has its Touch controllers, HTC has Valve's Lighthouse and the Manus Machina's wireless gloves are coming to almost every big VR headset in 2016.

But the future isn't controllers, it's tracking our hands with futuristic, gesture sensing camera and laser systems that let developers visualise our hands in VR. That's the reason Oculus spent $60 million on the gesture tracking company Pebbles Interfaces.

To that end Sony has acquired SoftKinetic, a depth sensing camera startup, which can add hand tracking to VR headsets with mounted camera accessories. That's good news for gamers looking forward to PlayStation VR which so far has used DualShock 4s and the PlayStation Move sticks as controllers.

Read this: Sony's Project Morpheus is now called PlayStation VR

Sony hasn't made any announcements about how it will use SoftKinetic's time of flight technology which tracks hands by measuring the time it takes for a laser to bounce around the room.

SoftKinetic tech could bring gestures as well as gripping and manipulating virtual objects to PlayStation VR games and experiences. There's also speculation that Sony could look to use this kind of tech with its AR smartglasses.

Next-gen controllers could have a big impact on decisions around which VR headset accessory to buy when Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Sony PlayStation all launch next year. The question now is whether Sony can get its setup ready for impatient, early adopters quick enough.


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