Oculus' Rift Touch controllers point toward an intuitive VR experience

— 2:10 PM on June 11, 2015

Oculus held a brief event today to share some details about the final Rift VR headset, as well a pair of prototype handheld controllers called Oculus Touch.

First off, those controllers. Oculus CEO Palmer Luckey noted that people instinctively reach their hands out when entering VR worlds for the first time, and the company wants to make it possible to interact with VR environments with our most natural input devices. The Oculus Touch controllers track hand movements, and they can also interpret gestures like thumbs-ups, waves, and pointing. Each controller also has an analog trigger, a sprinkling of buttons, and a thumbstick. The new controllers and a sandbox demo, called Toybox, will be on display at E3 next week.

Oculus Touch doesn't solve the need for a controller right now, though. For the time being, Oculus has partnered with Microsoft to include a wireless Xbox One controller with the Rift. It appears that Microsoft is also adding streaming support for Xbox games to the Rift, though the demo for that feature was rather brief and odd: it looked like a virtual theater with a big flat screen in it. Very meta.

We also learned a bit more about the final version of the Rift itself. The twin displays inside the goggles are OLED panels, and the mysterious switch-like control on the bottom is an adjustment slider that allows the lenses inside to be precisely centered on the user's eyes. The included headphones snap off so that owners can easily use their own.

Oculus also showed the base station that goes with the headset. This sleek-looking gadget that sits on a desk and tracks the constellation of position sensors that speckle the front panel of the goggles.

The 800-pound gorilla in the room for all this admittedly cool hardware is the price. Oculus is still mum on that point, though the company reiterated that you'll be able to buy a Rift of your own in the first quarter of 2016.

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