List of Virtual Reality Controllers
The world of VR is so immersive and realistic, thanks to developments in virtual worlds and environments in various VR programs. With all this realism in VR, wouldn’t it be great if you could explore and touch – quite literally – your virtual world using controllers? Specifically made for VR, custom controllers are replacing the conventional way of how we interact and explore our content – in ways that are far different from existing input devices that we have.
VR’s ability to support a range of controllers is something that many hardware makers are looking into, especially that VR is on a roll right now with a variety of headsets and experiences. We will be taking a look at the various controllers made for VR, and what they have in store for exploring our VR content and immersing into virtual worlds. Virtual Reality Times lists down the available VR controllers you can buy right now, as well as those controllers that are still under the drawing board.
HTC Vive Controllers
The high-end HTC Vive VR headset, made in collaboration by HTC and Valve, comes with an accompanying high-end controller – one that takes your finger input into a smooth trackpad that essentially translates into fluid movement in the VR space you’re looking at. Increasing interactivity within your content, the Vive controller is equipped with a trackpad that sense your finger movement. You can make a simple swipe gesture to look around your virtual environment, or you can flick your way around your content to look closely on or pick up objects – all with high accuracy and responsiveness. There are two Vive controllers that come bundled with the HTC Vive VR headset.
Want to navigate around your VR world without ever leaving a couch or seat? 3DRudder is a feet-based VR controller solution that lets you explore your virtual world using your feet. Tilting gestures from your feet translate into movement in the virtual space you’re in, configured to let you move around within your VR environment fluidly and accurately. The advantage that it offers is that it essentially frees up your hands to handle other controllers, making full use of your hands and feet to control your VR world. Not only the 3DRudder is compatible with VR headsets, it can also work with your PC or gaming consoles as an input device to complement your other controllers on hand. It retails for $179 and can be ordered over their website.
SteelSeries Stratus XL
The SteelSeries Stratus XL is a consumer VR controller solution that’s compatible with a wide range of VR hardware. The familiarity of its form factor closely resembles the Xbox One controller, keeping user ergonomics and comfort in mind. The Stratus XL can be paired with the Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive, and the Oculus Rift to control a wide range of controller-based VR experiences. It operates wirelessly via Bluetooth, and can run up to 40 hours of continuous usage on two AA batteries.
The SprintR VR is a wireless footpad that acts as a foot-based VR controller. It features a stationary base and a smoothly moving/rotating top plate. Works on PC and mobile VR platforms. SprintR aims to give a more pleasant and enjoyable VR experience by eliminating sweating issues after physically moving around to control your VR environment and content. It banks on the idea that you can rest your foot onto the SprintR footpad, letting you control and move around your virtual environment without leaving your seat. It works hand in hand with any hand-based controller, which means you can use any hand controller and the SprintR footpad at the same time to navigate within any virtual space. Along with its motion sensing feature, it also provides haptic feedback based on anything that happens in your virtual environment.
The VR headset that started the VR revolution will soon have a groundbreaking controller. The Oculus Touch, which will be launching soon along with the popular Rift VR headset, is a hand-based VR controller that lets you explore your virtual world and do things with your virtual content on the Oculus Rift. With gesture-based and direct-control interfaces, Touch lets you manipulate objects within your virtual environment using your hands’ natural movements. There would be little learning curve with the Touch, but it promises natural interaction with your VR content.
South Korean electronics giant Samsung is also developing their own VR handheld controller, and it’s called Rink. Rink is a motion controller specifically designed to work with the Samsung Gear VR headset, which taps into the mainstream consumer VR market. Initially shown at a demo during the last CES 2016, the Samsung Rink is still in prototype stage, evidenced by some performance jitters during the demo. However, Rink promises to deliver accurate positional tracking in real-time to give your hands the ability to infinitely control your virtual content on the Gear VR. In terms of its form, it clips onto both of your hands, sensing motion data which it then transmits onto an external sensor hub connected to the Gear VR headset itself. We may see changes to its final form factor and setup as it’s still under development.
For more information on VR controllers, please visit the following websites: