Oculus Previews “Oculus Touch” Handheld Motion-Tracking Haptic Controllers

Oculus wants to go beyond the Xbox One controller shipping with the Rift, so today it showed off the prototype of Oculus Touch, a set of handheld motion controllers that let you see your hands in virtual reality. Known as the “Half Moon” prototype, they’ll let you pick up objects, fire a gun, or point at things. They include integrated inertial and 360-degree movement tracking, plus haptic feedback that can shake to make you feel like you’re touching something.

Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey got up on stage at today’s press event (that we liveblogged) to wave the Oculus Touch controllers around. He says Oculus has built a virtual space called Toybox where multiple users will be able to simultaneously play with the Oculus Touch controllers at E3 next week. Luckey gleefully talked about how user feel like they’re in the same space because they can wave and gesture at each other.

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While the first games will feel more like 360-degree Xbox games, Oculus hopes the Touch controllers will let developers build entirely new experiences that could only work in VR. Luckey described picking up a gun, aiming and firing it, then throwing it away using your hand exactly as you’d expect.

Until now, third-party developer Sixense’s Razer Hydra handheld motion controllers were the standard in the industry. Oculus Touch could prove a tough competitor to Sixense, which may best off partnering with another headset maker.

The first thing most people do when they enter VR is raise their hands to check if they can see them. The Oculus Touch could allow not just our minds, but our bodies to enter the virtual realm.