[NEWS] Mark Zuckerberg shows off prototype Oculus VR gloves
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is showing off a new way to interact with the Oculus Rift headset: an Oculus glove. Today, he posted photos from a visit to the Facebook-owned VR company’s research lab in Redmond, Washington, where a team led by chief scientist Michael Abrash works on next-generation hardware. Most of the photos showed off the facility’s capabilities, but in one, Zuckerberg bragged about performing superheroics with a pair of white motion control gloves.
“We're working on new ways to bring your hands in virtual and augmented reality. Wearing these gloves, you can draw, type on a virtual keyboard, and even shoot webs like Spider Man. That's what I'm doing here,” he wrote in the caption. There’s not much detail beyond that, although the gloves appear to be fairly minimalist, and paired with a (possibly wireless) Oculus Rift headset. Instead of the normal external tracking cameras, the system is using a bevy of what look like third-party OptiTrack sensors. The “augmented reality” reference remains enigmatic, although Zuckerberg has expressed his enthusiasm for AR before.
Gloves are a standard VR input method, as anyone who’s used a Nintendo Power Glove will know. But we’ve never seen one from Oculus, a major VR player with a platform far larger than any third-party peripheral developer. (It’s theoretically possible this was adapted by Oculus from another design; we’ve reached out for clarification.) Granted, VR gloves have serious problems, and in a lot of ways, they’re a stopgap for other hand tracking methods. Oculus has previously acquired companies that work on glove-free hand tracking, but it’s hard to say what its endgame is — although for now, we’d really like to try that web shooter.
Cool! I know there are peripherals capable of glove free hand tracking like leap motion, but what I like about gloves are the haptic possibilities. For example, the feeling of picking up a heavy object.
I hope they have haptic feedback. Sooo important for the next generation of VR devices.
I agree. I got to experience a projection-based kinda/sorta VR experience the other day at the local VR meetup. Three walls and a floor with a 3D environment projected. Shutter-based 3D glasses to view in 3D. A controller to move around, set to have the viewing plane oriented around the glasses with antennas while the other glasses have to look over the shoulder. I was talking with the guy running it and mentioned gloves and setting up some sort of haptic system. That would have truly made it awesome.
Well, right now it looks like they are using a passive way to measure teh gloves, with a lot of cameras and infra red lights all around, so I don't think they are working in a real way to do it more than simply wear a reflective pattern in the glove for the fingers, but because it's just a test laboratory they can figure out how to do it later.