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It’s big. It’s weird. It’s curved around the wrist like a mouse that melted onto a watch strap. And maybe HTC’s Vive brand has finally hit upon the future of VR controllers.
HTC’s product announcements atdidn’t include any new headsets — the company released its experimental, phone-connected late last year, and updates to its and earlier in 2021. But to me, the Vive Wrist Tracker is maybe even more interesting.
VR hasn’t made any great strides in controllers and inputs since the first wave of headsets back in 2016. Most lean on controllers that feel like split-apart console gamepads, much like theuses. Those are fine for games, but not so much for anything casual. Also, you have to find and hold those controllers. Hand tracking, which can be controller-free, isn’t as precise and lacks physical feedback.
The Vive Wrist Tracker has the same type of six-degrees-of-freedom full motion tracking as most VR controllers do. It can also optionally be attached to other objects, much like, which have been around for several years. In that sense, they could double as ways to track or add other things into VR.
HTC plans to use the wrist tracker for training situations where hands would be needed to hold or move things, like an existing VR firefighting training program.
Meta is expected to move towardsfor its future smart glasses, and the company formerly known as Facebook is reported to be developing , which could also link into VR. As headsets get smaller, like the Vive Flow, and maybe designed to wear anywhere, the controllers need to be super portable, too. Blending the tech into wristbands and watches would make the most sense. HTC’s Vive Wrist Tracker is entirely business-focused, and it doesn’t look that compact. But it may be the path others start taking, too.