Sony Researchers Showcase New Next-Gen Virtual Reality Finger Tracking Controllers
Sony has in the past unveiled patents that suggested the tech giant was working on finger-tracking for an unnamed new Virtual Reality motion controller that will be paired with company’s yet to be announced PSVR 2 headset.
Sony has now released a new video that demonstrates their next generation VR finger-tracking controllers that are currently under development. The video offers a more detailed look at the new controllers and has been accompanied with a new research paper titled ‘Evaluation of Machine Learning Technologies for Hand Pose Estimation on Handheld Device with Proximity Sensor’.
The new work was authored by Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Kazuyuki Arimatsu and Hideki Mori. The SIE is Sony’s department under which the PlayStation brand falls. The new video showcases what could be the basis for the tech giant’s next generation PlayStation Move 2 VR controllers.
The video shows a prototype for a virtual reality controller that shares a similarity with Valve’s Index Controllers when it comes to the functionality. The controller has sensors that can detect when the user is gripping the device using all their fingers as well as when they are lifting away their individual fingers.
The finger movements are replicated in a virtual representation of the user’s hands, a functionality which allows for a more immersive hand presence in virtual reality. The video explains that the technique does not use any external vision in tracking the position of fingers like in the controller-free Oculus Quest tracking solution.
In the video, the controller is also seen being tested with a simulated sweaty hand as well as hands that have been fitted with watches and rings and it still yields impressive results.
Sony is yet to confirm anything yet but it is becoming more likely that finger-tracking will be a major component of its next-generation motion controllers for its upcoming and yet to be confirmed VR headset, PSVR 2.
Sony is currently in the process of prototyping new virtual reality headsets. Sony has also announced that its next-generation console, the PS5, will also be compatible with the original PSVR Virtual Reality headset. A PSVR successor is in the offing and it is likely to be accompanied by a new pair of controllers.
Should these be Sony’s next-generation Virtual Reality controllers, then there is likely to be a strap in the final device that will help users to hold the devices in place, as had been shown in the original patents.
Last year, Sony also licensed advanced haptics for Virtual Reality controllers. Apart from that, there is already advanced haptics and trigger resistance on the new DualSense controller for PS5.
However, these controllers are unlikely to hit the stores this year. Sony has stated that it is unlikely to launch the PSVR 2 alongside the PS5 but many users will be expecting the interval between the releases to be shorter.