Shortly after we learned that Valve is working on a new 'Knuckles' controller for using your hands in virtual reality, clips of the new peripheral in use give us a clearer idea of how it could change the landscape of VR.
Developer Cloudhead Games shared multiple videos via Twitter (opens in new tab) and YouTube of its staff testing out Valve's experimental SteamVR-powered motion controller, which features a special grip for detecting the user's finger placement as demonstrated below.
Similar to the motion wands currently employed by the Valve-backed HTC Vive, the Knuckles controller detects its relationship to the user's surroundings to point, rotate and move across a virtual environment.
Where it sets itself apart, however, is when the users tightens Knuckles around their hand, allowing the user to let go without dropping the controller, leaving special sensors on the handle and trackpad to detect where their fingers are positioned.
For example, the Cloudhead demo has developers instantly making thumbs-ups, peace signs, metal horns (opens in new tab) and even something of a ruder nature (opens in new tab) simply by making the gesture in real-life while their hands are strapped to the controller.
The Knuckles controller can even detect how curled each finger is, making for smooth in-game hand movements as seen in the video below.
pic.twitter.com/OOOZoiKrEXJune 29, 2017
Originally teased during Valve's Steam Dev Days conference last year, it's unclear how far the Knuckles controller is from a consumer launch, or if it's intended to replace the Vive controllers outright.
That said, seeing the device in motion lights up our imagination for how using our hands like this can enrich VR, and gives us confidence Valve may just be on the cusp of the next big thing in the field.
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