The big surprise from the Oculus press conference today may have been the inclusion of the ubiquitous Xbox controller, but the real excitement came with the unveiling of a brand-new controller – the Oculus Touch.
Oculus Touch is a pair of tracked controllers that deliver hand presence – the sensation of feeling as though your virtual hands are actually your own. Touch will let people take their virtual reality experiences further than ever before by unlocking new interactions.
The prototype called ‘Half Moon’, comes with 2 controller that have a traditional analog thumbstick, two buttons, and an analog trigger. There’s also an input mechanism that Oculus call the ‘hand trigger’. Imagine using this trigger to pick up a virtual gun, then using your index finger to fire it.
The new controllers are wireless so that you can move and interact with the virtual world freely, and they use the same IR LED constellation tracking system we use in the Rift for precise, low-latency, 6-DOF tracking. The Half Moon prototype includes haptics that developers can use to deliver feedback when interacting with objects in the virtual world.
It was also announced that ‘Half Moon’ can detect a set of finger poses using a matrix of sensors mounted throughout the device, which allows the controller to recognize a set of communicative hand poses like pointing, waving, and giving a thumbs-up.
Oculus Touch will ship to gamers, developers, and enthusiasts in the first half of 2016, and will be available for pre-order around the same time as the Rift.