Unless you own an Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or PlayStation VR, you have probably written off virtual reality as the great non-starting tech trend of 2016.
And in a way, you’re totally right. For all the hubbub about how VR will change the world, the first iteration of its flagship products have struggled to connect with consumers, either due to price, design or a generally unfinished feel. Those of us who bought in are having fun, but we get why no one else really wants to buy in just yet.
Oculus Touch, however, brings the Facebook-owned (FB) Oculus and its Rift at least one step closer to the virtual reality game-changer we’ve all been crowing about. Released as an optional accessory for the Rift headset, the twin controllers are about as far from optional as an accessory can get. Lightweight but sturdy, they shoot the Rift past the competition by delivering the most engaging way to interact in a virtual space currently available to the public.
This does a few cool things. The position of your hand and fingers makes the act of gripping something natural, and indeed, if you grab anything using the Touch controllers – a gun, a sword, a football — it feels like you’re actually grabbing it, not just pressing the ‘pick up’ button. What’s more remarkable is how well those capacitive triggers track your resting state; gently lift your finger from a trigger and your virtual finger does the same. Though you don’t get full five-fingered representative moment, it’s a step past analog, mirroring your input even when you’re not actually inputting anything. More than anything, it convincingly tethers your real-world hand and finger position to their virtual representations. That’s big, and it’s wonderfully effective.