Culture

New Oculus Rift "Touch Controllers" Make Virtual Reality More Real

You may have heard of the Oculus Rift, perhaps the most talked about virtual reality platform in recent years. A commercial version of the device is due to hit the market next year.

Those who have had access to development versions of the hardware have reported issues with motion sickness. Part of the disorientation emerges from seeing a 360-degree three-dimensional world and interacting with it via a traditional gamepad. The body expects to interact with what it sees in a way that it is used to.

Oculus will address that with its “touch controllers,” also coming next year. IGN tech editor Alaina Yee writes of her experience testing the devices:

My demo took place in the Toybox test environment that Oculus mentioned last week at its pre-E3 press conference—the one Oculus uses internally to fine-tune the controls for the Touch. The scene I was dropped into was fairly barebones: a very nondescript workshop with a variety of objects scattered over a workbench. I spent the first few minutes acclimating to the Touch’s controls; though the controllers feel pretty good to hold, with most of the input placements right where I’d want them, I didn’t take to them right away. The middle-finger trigger felt odd at first. I had to get used to the position of it relative to where my actual middle finger is.

After I’d adjusted to that, though, I just had to learn how to use the middle-finger trigger to pick up and hold things like blocks, Zippo lighters, slingshots, and guns. (Squeeze once to grab something; keep it depressed to hold onto the item; release to drop it.) Though it was a pretty basic mechanic, my brain still refused to accept the scheme at first, since I was looking at fingers opening and closing. I had to practice several times before I began equating the virtual fingers with pushing down on a button.

Read Yee’s complete account at IGN. Check out the entire Oculus Rift conference from this year’s E3 below.