While we consumers are still getting used to the virtual reality tech and trying to decide whether or not to jump on board yet, Mark Zuckerberg is keeping a close eye on what is going on at the research end of Oculus. And going by the latest updates, we can surely say something interesting is cooking up; for the latest R&D project being virtual reality gloves.
For now, we already have the Oculus Rift headset and Oculus Touch controllers. Together, these allow six degrees of motion tracking for our hands. With the constant scope of improvement and development, the Oculus Research lab in Washington is working on a pair of gloves that bring the full movement range of our hands and fingers into a virtual world. According to the updates, after wearing them we will be able to type on a virtual keyboard and draw with a high degree of accuracy.
Going by the image shared by Mark Zuckerberg, wearing these gloves, you can draw, type on a virtual keyboard, and even shoot webs like Spider Man. These prototype gloves aren’t hooked up to the Oculus tracking system yet. Instead, they rely on an array of trackers focused on a specific area; in this case, where Zuckerberg is moving his glove-covered hands. A noticeable fact is that these VR gloves are probably not a brand new tech, developed internally by Oculus. The company lately acquired Pebbles Interfaces, which apparently had a virtual reality hand tracking system already in development. High chances are there of it being an extension of that technology only.
Previously also a lot of companies have worked on such haptic gloves and trackable ones. Dexter robotics gloves look like the mechanical exoskeletons which fit in your hands. Manus has been busy creating a much sleeker biker like gloves, while Neurodigital’s Gloveone and Noitom’s Hi5 are the two other variants which are still in development. But the news of a new set of gloves coming into the market from Oculus will spread like wildfire. On the positive side, it will also help other companies know how to develop VR software which takes advantage of unencumbered hands. It can eradicate the gaming limits and increase the business aspect.
Another update from the Oculus research lab is that they are also working on reducing the size of the headsets to glasses which can be carried anywhere. Zuckerberg also mentioned, “advanced optics, eye tracking, mixed reality and new ways to map the human body” in his Facebook post about the lab visit. But our personal piece of advice would be, don’t hold your breath in wait for this new Oculus-branded technology. The gloves will surely be perfected and offered to the public, but we don’t think that the company will have the technology and sources ready for quite a while. Also, it would be interesting to see if the competitor Sony comes up with any new peripherals for PlayStation VR.