Oculus VR hosted their “Step into the Rift” event in San Francisco today and it was chock-full of tasty treats. We finally have a release date for the long-awaited consumer version of the Oculus Rift (coming in Q1 2016) and we now also know that it will come with an Xbox One controller and wireless adapter right out of the box. But perhaps the most interesting reveal was that of the Oculus Touch “Half Moon” controllers that will likely shape the future of VR controls as we know them. According to Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey, these little gadgets will actually create the feeling that “your virtual hands are your real hands”.
“Hand presence”, it has been noted, is an incredibly vital aspect of the virtual reality realm. Over thousands of VR demonstrations, said Luckey, the first thing that everyone does is put their hands out to touch what they see; it has something to do with the way our brains interpret VR as a whole. The new “Half Moon” controllers aim to take the VR experience out of just our minds and allow our bodies to enter the realm of virtual reality as well. Oculus Touch will add the experience while you are wearing them of picking up objects, firing a gun, pointing at things and tossing away items when you’re through with them. Included in each Touch controller are an analog trigger, two buttons, and a joystick. With the help of “communicative gesture” technology and a “matrix of sensors”, the Oculus Touch controller can detect a variety of finger poses such as pointing, waving, and even giving a thumbs-up. And just for your personal safety, they will come with lanyards attached to them, á la the Wii.
If you’re gearing up to go get yourself one now, you might want to cool your jets. Only the Oculus Rift itself will be shipping in Q1 2016, there is not yet a release date for the Oculus Touch – well, for consumers at least. Much like they did with the Rift, Oculus is releasing a development kit version of the Oculus Touch early next year so that developers can start getting used to the new controller and begin to incorporate their games around it. If you’re a developer looking to get your hands on (or into) a pair, preorders for this exciting and hands-on little invention from Oculus will open at the same time as the Rift.
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