It’s been nearly three years since hand tracking first came to the original Oculus Quest VR headset, but the second generation of the feature has so far been limited to the Meta Quest 2 (formerly Oculus Quest 2). Following on from a major overhaul in May, two years since the experimental feature left beta, Meta’s finally updating support for the headset that started it all.
For the unaware, hand tracking is something worth considering when searching for the best VR headset. Removing the need for the Oculus Touch motion controllers, Quest can detect your hands and fingers through the headset cameras, letting you directly interact with the user interface. This creates a more immersive VR experience, though the lack of buttons does mandate several compromises.
“Today, we’re unlocking major improvements to our Hand Tracking API, Presence Platform’s hand tracking capability—including step-change improvements in tracking continuity, gesture support, movement, and performance. This update also allows fast and overlapping hand movements, enables clapping and other hand-over-hand interactions, and opens up nearly endless object manipulation possibilities.”
Since May, some of the best VR games have received updates to support hand tracking 2.0, including apps like Virtual Desktop, action-adventure games like Eolia, music sims such as Unplugged, and smaller hits like Vacation Simulator, too. Though it’s reassuring to see this library steadily grow, we’ve yet to see the biggest games like Bonelab, Beat Saber, or Half-Life Alyx adopt this.
There’s no doubt we’ll see hand tracking functionality in the rumoured Oculus Quest 3 and Project Cambria VR headsets. While full specifications for both remain unknown, chances are high that we’ll find out more about Cambria at Meta Connect 2022. Still, if you’re curious to try out hand tracking sooner, existing Quest owners will soon have a few options.