Many people are still hesitant about investing in Virtual Reality (VR). In fact, Fortune states that despite being the next big thing for more than five years now, VR hasn’t really taken off due to various issues related to price, discomfort, lack of good content and the requirement to completely abandon reality. However, this is changing with HP noting how the revolutionary benefits of VR for various industries, ranging from healthcare to virtual tourism, is carving out a permanent place for the technology in today’s modern landscape. In addition to this, with millions of people stuck inside their homes and always on the lookout for new ways to keep themselves entertained, VR is slowly but surely going mainstream. However, as more and more people have started using VR, this has led to more people on the lookout for the best hand-tracking system. After all, perfect hand-tracking will easily take any VR experience to the next level. In this article, we will talk about three different hand-tracking systems: Leap Motion, Oculus Quest, and HTC Vive Cosmos.
This motion-tracking tech is an add-on to VR headsets and is changing how people interact in a digital world. As a decade-old technology, Leap Motion continues to deliver one of the most reliable hand-tracking technologies to date with two cameras and three infrared LEDs that map up the space in front of the controller. So far hand-tracking hasn’t lived up to its potential, but this is all changing as Leap Motion’s new owners UltraHaptics are creating advanced hands-free haptic controls not just for VR systems but also for smart home devices and information kiosks. This is a key reason why they are now one of the leaders of the motion- sensor industry. This advanced hand tracking device used to be attached to an Oculus or HTC Vive headset, but the headset manufacturers recently started to build in the cameras into their hardware.
Released as an early Christmas gift December last year, Oculus Quest hand tracking is a present that was warmly greeted, but still not everyone was left satisfied. Despite being a ‘bonus’ feature to one of the ‘Best VR Headsets for 2020’, due to completely eliminating wires and the ability to track hands in a user’s peripheral vision, Oculus Quest’s inability to detect combined gestures and overlapping hands has left a dent in its perception. Additionally, the reliance of the new hand tracking feature on multiple cameras created some sort of seam which sometimes caused the device to lose its tracking capability when both hands were in a certain proximity to each other. Clearly, there is some refinement that can be done for Oculus Quest to achieve the level of stability and performance that Leap Motion and the HTC Vive Cosmos offer.
HTC Vive Cosmos
HTC Vive Cosmos is a high-end, PC-powered VR headset that offers a high-quality screen, flip-up visor, and comfortable fit. Aside from better visuals, the main draw of the Vive Cosmos might well be the inside-out tracking system – meaning you don’t need additional sensors setup around the room. The new tracking system means that the headset does all the work; six cameras are built into the front, top, sides and bottom to monitor the external space. The tracking system relies on distinctive light patterns to detect movement. The system is still in the early days, so some issues can be visible. Players can sometimes end up getting suboptimal tracking because of unfavorable lighting conditions. Also, direct sunlight can sometimes mean that the controllers vanish from sight. Regardless, Vive ecosystem needs a way to track hands and this implementation is well positioned to become the standard.
With the three major options available, it is up to you what solution you’d like to use for hand tracking. All of them have pros and cons – the good thing is, there is competition that’s pushing this technology forward. More exciting technology advancements to come!