Gleechi VirtualGrasp Hand Tracking Interface Provides Realistic Hand Interactions with Virtual Objects
The Swedish virtual reality software startup Gleechi has unveiled a new hand tracking interface known as VirtualGrasp which automates the programming of hand interactions in virtual reality. The technology enables very complex hand interactions with virtual objects.
VirtualGrasp enables the users to more easily grasp and also interact with any object with a 3D mesh without having to rely on physics or a manual collider assignment.
The startup demo’d the technology through a new video that shows the hand tracking interface running Oculus Quest using Quest’s experimental controller-free hand tracking. One section of the video shows a user demonstrating the picking up of a screwdriver in virtual reality. The object has an unusual shape but the demo video shows the user actually gripping it in multiple ways including by its handle and at its top tip.
VirtualGrasp Will Be a Cross-Platform Interface
The demonstration shows the VirtualGrasp hand tracking interface running on Oculus Quest but the startup has stated that it is working on getting the technology to work with various hardware types including haptic gloves and Touch controllers. This versatility will enable the hand tracking technology to be easily deployed in a multiplicity of scenarios without being constricted to any setup or particular hardware.
Gleechi CPO David Svee has revealed that the VirtualGrasp technology emerged from the body of research that has enabled robots to pick up objects in real-time. The startup is now applying similar concept in virtual hands and virtual hand animation. According to the company, the technology aims to cut down on the manual animations that are needed when implementing hand interactions in virtual reality. It is also aiming to provide users with an easy and simple solution of automating object interaction that will function with any 3D mesh when someone is using virtual hands.
The startup claims that its VirtualGrasp technology delivers a more accurate and immersive hand animation when interacting with objects in virtual reality. This could come in handy in user scenarios that require a high degree of accuracy while at the same time cutting down on the amount of manual animations which have to be produced.
Oculus Quest Hand Tracking is Limiting
The Oculus Quest platform already provides a hand tracking functionality but it is so far limited to only simple functions: for example, Quest users can use hand and finger movements to scroll through a virtual store or launch VR apps.
Developers on the Quest platform are already experimenting with more complex virtual hand-object interactions that incorporate physical laws but at the moment, we still don’t have an interface that would provide these functions by default.
Gleechi hopes to fill this gap through its hand tracking software VirtualGrasp. With Gleechi technology, the virtual hands should behave as naturally as the real ones when these virtual hands are interacting with purely virtual objects in virtual environments, without having to animate either the hand or finger position for every individual interaction. It should considerably simplify the complex virtual hand-object interactions.
Gleechi developed the software for use in its industrial VR training program but it is now recognizing broader application scenarios. The software could be invaluable in the development of games, animated films and virtual reality apps for healthcare that require a very realistic hand tracking simulation.
The company’s clientele already includes some of the who in who in heavy engineering and industry including ABB technology group and Scania.
While the demo above was recorded with Oculus Quest, the software will eventually be platform-agnostic while also supporting other input devices like haptic gloves and Oculus Touch controllers.