When HTC Vive held its Vive Developer Jam in January one of the companies providing hardware support to participants was TG0, a specialist in tactile interface products, letting them its prototype controller called etee. Designed as a buttonless interface device for virtual reality (VR), TG0 has revealed plans to launch a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign to help bring the etee to the consumer market.
The etee controllers will feature a full range of hand movements such as proximity, touch, gesture and pressure, so they feel as natural as possible. TG0 has achieved a buttonless design for a number of reasons, not only for elegance but also ease of use. Rather than devices like the Valve Index controllers which can be overwhelming for non-gamers with their button, stick and touchpad interfaces, the etee aims to offer VR users no matter the ability level a frictionless system.
A side benefit of the lack of buttons means the etee’s seamless, water-resistant surface is very hygienic, offering no gaps in the surface for dust, sweat and bacteria to collect. So arcades and other multi-user environments can confidently disinfect the surface every time they’re used.
“VR games need a controller that moves beyond the stale, TV remote-like devices that are prevalent today,” said etee designer Mick Lin. “etee takes us away from binary button commands into a new world of gesture, grip and touch-based controls. It delivers richer, more mesmerising interactions: the experience gamers deserve.”
Currently, the controllers you can see in the images are the 3-degrees of freedom (3DoF) units which were seen at the Vive Developer Jam and required Vive Trackers for 6DoF motion. The controller will be the first user-focused product TG0 has developed and the Kickstarter is intended to help fund development of a version with fully integrated SteamVR tracking. TG0 has confirmed several other features including 16 hours standby, 6+ active battery life; a thumb trackpad, haptic feedback and Bluetooth/WiFi communication.
TG0 hasn’t set a date for the Kickstarter launch, just that it’ll be in April. Check out the video below to see the finger tracking in action and when VRFocus has further details to share we’ll let you know.