The Valve Corporation just showed off a new virtual reality controller for the HTC Vive during the Steam Dev Days conference in Seattle, Washington. The new controller wasn’t made available to the public, but developers in attendance got a close look at the upcoming VR peripheral.
The new Vive controller appears to be wrist-mounted with what looks like a velcro strap. There also appears to be another strap that will wrap around the user’s palms. One of the developers who managed to try out the new device published a few photos on Twitter showing that users will be able to open their hands without dropping the controller. The purpose of this new design is that the controller would be able to track the user’s hand movements in order to replicate it in-game, according to GameSpot.
The idea here is that the new controller would be able to know if the user’s hands are open or closed using the built-in sensors. This would allow users to simply grip or drop objects in a game by opening or closing their hands. This functionality is similarly found on the upcoming Oculus Touch controller for the Rift VR headset, as pointed out by The Verge.
The current HTC Vive controller, which sells for $130, is already capable of tracking different grips in virtual reality. However, that feature relies on pressing buttons located on the top, back and sides of the device and it isn’t capable of tracking or replicating the user’s natural hand movements. This is of course impossible since users must always have a grip on the controllers.
The new controller is currently just a prototype and may not be released to consumers yet. The purpose of the new prototype is for Valve to get feedback on the design from developers. More details about its availability and pricing will arrive “soon,” Valve’s Doug Lombardi told Kotaku.