Next level: HTC Vive 'arm controllers' totally immerse user in VR

HTC Vive arm tracking news
HTC Vive arm tracking news

Virtual reality is finally here, but it's not what most people would call completely immersive. One of the biggest challenges with VR is modeling your hands and arms.

The HTC Vive has two hand controllers, but they won't replicate your finger movements in virtual reality, and Oculus Rift doesn't even ship with with its promising Oculus Touch controllers until later this year.

This is exactly what the Manus VR hopes to accomplish, by modeling both your arms and hands in virtual reality. You may have seen that the company already has a prototype glove controller for the HTC Vive, and it's now working on modeling your arms.

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Arm-ed with experiments

The experimental footage shown above shows how Manus VR successfully recreated the arms and elbow joint with little latency. Manus VR thinks game designers could use its arm tracking tech to create in-game interfaces like an Apple Watch or Pip-Boy from the Fallout video game series.

This initial experimental footage shows how the company plans on strapping the HTC Vive's existing controllers onto your forearms to aid tracking. It definitely looks weird and is quite bulky but it's a first step. Hopefully the company can miniaturize its arm tracking solution in future iterations.

We first saw Manus VR's hand controllers earlier this year at GDC and it felt like the future. But it's still far off from being an actual product you can buy and use. Nevertheless, the company is building the foundation for developers to tap into its hardware to bring you more realistic VR experiences.

We're still a long way from bringing our entire bodies into VR, yet Manus VR shows we're on our way to a virtual full-body experience.

Lewis Leong
Lewis Leong is a freelance writer for TechRadar. He has an unhealthy obsession with headphones and can identify cars simply by listening to their exhaust notes.