One of the standout announcements from Oculus Connect 6 (OC6) in September was the hand tracking reveal for Oculus Quest. At the time Oculus slated a 2020 launch for the feature but today it has now arrived as an early experimental feature for customers to try out.
As this is an experimental release don’t expect to start playing all your favourite videogames and apps with just your hands right away. To begin with, the hand tracking will only work in Quest Home and system menus, and first-party apps like Oculus Browser and Oculus TV. To take a look all you need to do is update your software to version 12 when available, then go to the Experimental features section on Oculus Quest.
Oculus notes: “You can even set your floor height for a stationary Guardian boundary using your hands—no controller necessary. To switch between your hands and Touch controllers, just use the new toggle switch in your Oculus Home menu.” As this is early days, further improvements and features will be added in the coming months.
When it comes to third-party apps on Oculus Quest, developers will be able to access the software development kit (SDK) from next week, enabling them to build hand tracking into their apps and experiences. This could mean developers adding support by the end of the year or more likely early 2020. What is definite is that VR next year will be a lot more hands-on.
VRFocus tested the Oculus Quest hand tracking at OC6 and was instantly impressed by what the company hand achieved, saying: “Hand tracking on Oculus Quest will add another feather to the headsets cap when it’s made available in 2020. It might not see widespread implementation straight away as developers get used to adding the tech to their experiences, but it’ll be a feature they can’t ignore.”
Hand tracking should help to add another layer of immersion in both videogames and apps alike. While the Oculus Touch controllers are intuitive they still represent a barrier for some users keen to just use their hands. VRFocus will continue its coverage of Oculus Quest’s hand tracking reporting back with further updates.