Oculus Touch controllers take your hands into virtual reality

The current Oculus Touch prototype looks like a decapitated Move controller smashed through a bangle, but the concept – bringing your hands into virtual reality for a more naturally interactive experience – sounds like a sci-fi dream.

Oculus founder Palmer Luckey showed off the Touch’s “Half-Moon” prototype at the company’s press conference today. It’s split into two separate, symmetrical handles, both with 6-degree motion tracking using the same constellation tracking as the Rift headset itself, and with haptic feedback (AKA rumble). They’re also lined with sensors that allow them to detect finger poses, meaning Oculus Touch can tell if you’re pointing, waving, or even giving a thumbs-up.

Each handle also has an analog stick, triggers for your index and middle fingers, and two buttons. Taken together, the whole setup is meant to give you “hand presence” and a “sense of feeling” in the virtual world, Luckey said. Oculus will offer hands-on (or is it hands-in?) demos with Oculus Touch and its “Toybox” demo software at E3, letting users ‘light explosives, pull robots limb from limb, punch garden gnomes, and play tether ball’ together in a multiplayer world.

The first-generation Rift headset is planned to launch in the first quarter of 2016 bundled with an Xbox One controller (opens in new tab), but it sounds like Oculus Touch will need some more time before it’s ready for mass consumption.

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