At a pre-E3 event last week, the team behind Oculus VR announced The Oculus Touch. A bespoke controller was unveiled by Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey, displaying how the technology can replicate human movements through virtual reality.
The Touch closely resembles a Nintendo Wii nunchuck controller, but there is much more to it than that. Both of the controller’s two triggers sit comfortably in the user’s hand. The first trigger is positioned higher for the user’s index finger, while a lower trigger is accessible by other fingers. A traditional analog stick can be found on top for movement. A futuristic circular sensor never actually touches the user’s hand.
The demonstration program is known as Toy Box. Some of the simple but fun activities include firing a slingshot, throwing a ball, or even lifting the lid of a Zippo lighter and sparking the flint to light a sparkler.
However, it is even more interesting to participate in the demo with someone else. The other person can interact with the user, firing a shrink ray at them or offering items that kick off new activities. One highlight is being transported to a world without gravity where users can shoot Roman candles into the sky.
The Oculus Rift headsets have been around for some time now, but the Oculus Touch is a potential game changer for them. It could very well raise the technology from being a flashy but ultimately limited piece of hardware to something far more interactive. The Oculus Rift team, as well as third-party developers, could use this platform to create entertainment, gaming, and even social media.
The original Oculus Rift technology showed possibilities for future development, but the Oculus Touch has opened a wider window. It will be interesting to see where Luckey’s team goes next.