Oculus is launching hand tracking on its Quest virtual reality headset in an update early next year. The system will apparently use the Quest’s built-in cameras to track hand motion at a fine-grained level, instead of requiring a controller system like Oculus Touch. According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, it’s part of a larger push to minimize the amount of hardware required for virtual reality.
In a blog post, Oculus said tracking will be an experimental opt-in feature for consumers and part of a software development kit for people building Quest experiences. It also laid out some of the technology behind the tracking: essentially, it supplements the existing camera images with “new techniques in deep learning and model-based tracking.”
This doesn’t make Oculus the first VR company to use hand tracking, and it won’t be the only way to interact with Quest content. The company Leap Motion (now rebranded as Ultraleap after a merger) pioneered the system years ago. But hand tracking hasn’t been an official input method for a prominent high-end headset so far.
Oculus increasingly treats the $399 Quest as its flagship product. It has more capabilities than the cheaper Oculus Go, and it’s more portable than the tethered Oculus Rift S. The Oculus Rift S also has cameras, but Oculus didn’t mention adding support for it.
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