We consider the Oculus Quest to be the best VR headset right now, and it will get even better in the coming months. In the more immediate future, a new cable will allow the Quest to plug into a PC and play games designed for the higher-end Rift headset. Then in 2020, a software update will add controller-free hand tracking.
Oculus (owned by Facebook) announced the feature at Oculus Connect today. The upcoming hand tracking update will enable natural interaction through hand and finger movements, without the need for a controller, external sensors, special gloves, or a PC.
This capability began as a research project at Facebook Reality Labs. Oculus says it uses deep learning to understand the position of a user's hands and fingers, as tracked by the Quest's onboard cameras, and then translates the information into VR.
"Our computer vision team developed a new method of using deep learning to understand the position of your fingers using just the monochrome cameras on Quest today—no active depth-sensing cameras, additional sensors, or extra processors required. This technology approximates the shape of your hand and creates a set of 3D points to accurately represent your hand and finger movement in VR," Oculus explains.
It will be up to developers to run with this and make immersive experiences, but it certainly looks promising—check out the video at the top of this article for some interesting demonstrations of the tech in action.