With the early release of Oculus Quest’s Hand tracking, there are bound to be some questions and curiosity. What’s new? It was already possible using Leap Motion? Is it better? Let’s review and find out.
Oculus Quest has officially become the first-ever VR headset with built-in Hand tracking.
Leap Motion even though almost being a decade old technology still gives one of the most reliable hands tracking to date. It consists of two cameras and three infrared LEDs and maps up to 2 feet above the controller which was expanded later on with Orion beta software to 2.6 feet.
The interaction area is 2 feet wide (150°), 2 feet deep (120°) and 2 feet tall.
The Hardware was originally designed for PC and Mac which was launched back in 2012 and later found its a use case with the rise of VR technology.
It was a breakthrough at the time, it was an amazing experience to see and interact with your hands inside VR. Surprisingly the hardware made for PC’s almost seamlessly blended with VR devices like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive or so we thought until now.
In 2019, we all underwent a big transition towards going wireless. We all saw the big trend of wireless Earpods and witnessed the launch of Oculus Quest the successor of Oculus Go. Oculus Go was already pushing boundaries of going wireless on a cheap price point of 199$ but Oculus Quest pushed the possibilities even further in terms of performance upgrade with 4 GB ram, 835 snapdragon chipset and most of all the inside out room-scale tracking and the wireless Hand tracking.
The whole origin of Oculus Quest and even how they brand themselves as an All-In-One VR device, it has all been aiming at empowering us with power without PC and freedom of movement in VR without wires, and now they have gone one step further in achieving True Freedom in VR by replacing controllers with our own hands.
With Leap Motion earlier it was a very tedious process of setting up hand tracking in your VR environment with bundles of wires running along VR headset wires. Oculus Quest has made this tiring process extremely easy and truly wireless.
Being enabled with 4 cameras on the sides, Oculus Quest can track your hands even in your peripheral vision. While Leap Motion can only detect in a conical vision in front of you.
But having a lot of cameras has it’s downsides as well.
As of now at the end of 2019, Oculus Quest is incapable of having combined gestures, overlapping of hands and even loses tracking when both hands are in a certain proximity to each other. The use of multiple cameras is bound to result in some sort of seam in between, although it does a decent enough job of stitching together the feed. It still isn’t good enough as there is a fine line right in the center where the hands lose their tracking.
Such wasn’t ever a problem with Leap Motion, although completely overlapping of hands might result in finicky motion due to obvious limitation of the viewpoint of the camera.
Although keeping in mind this is an early release of Oculus Quest’s Hand tracking and there is a lot of scope of improvements that can be done in terms of software upgrades.
Been made from the ground up to support hand tracking Oculus Quest has an edge in every term over Leap Motion except one, and that’s performance. Leap Motion can be backed by a powerful CPU and can support huge applications with a robust graphics card whereas Oculus Quest is currently running an 835 snapdragon chipset.
The Big Update of Oculus Quest with Hand Tracking will not immediately wipe Leap Motion out of existence. But will rather create a unique market segment ie., Wireless and Wired hand tracking. It’s fair to say Oculus Quest has established its place in the Mobile VR market which is growing stronger and powerful every day alongside mobile devices.
The hand tracking in Oculus Quest is still not as stable as Leap Motion but from looking at what they are offering in this early release the future with wireless VR looks promising and capable of replacing the wired options completely in not so distant future.
There is a lot of refinement to be done, but what we are seeing right now is no small feat. The feeling of being Hand’s free in VR, looking down and finding your hands right where you expect them is pretty amazing. Being priced at 399$, Oculus Quest is able to reach masses whether it be consumers or developers. Hand tracking will be a big trend to watch for in 2020 as it improves and reach a wider audience it is safe to say there will be a larger shift towards this technology.
➾Take a look into, A Day in the Life of VR Developer