One of the biggest challenges for VR has been how to incorporate controls into the VR experience. After all, immersive experiences aren’t just about what you see and hear. If you’ve ever played PSVR with one of their adapters rather than with a standard controller, you know that when your hands are doing something that matches the action you’re seeing, it can really enhance a VR experience.
Virtually every VR company has attacked this problem in its own way. Most of them have been more or less effective ways for us to escape the problem of both of our hands being glued to the same controller. However, for many experiences, the standard VR controller model leaves something wanting. A new company, TG0, is out to solve that problem and we’re all ears.
To be clear, TG0, the company which launches their “five finger controller”, etee, in just a few months, isn’t explicitly a VR company. Their controller isn’t explicitly a VR controller either. It’s a 3D controller.
We in the AR and VR world tend to think that we have spacial experiences to ourselves, which is neither fair, nor true. The launch of a multitude of experiences and technologies means that more than ever more and more of us are controlling objects in three-dimensional space. That includes AR and VR experiences but it also includes things like drones.
A Look at the etee Controller
Because it hasn’t actually launched yet, everything that we know about the controller comes from the company’s promotional material and what we can see of it.
The system consists of two controllers. Each controller is a handle with a 360-degree trackpad at the top. The four fingers manipulate a “sensing area” and each thumb manipulates its own trackpad. The remote can connect to devices via USB or wifi connection.
How It Works
According to the etee website, there are two main ways to use the controller.
Regions along the sensing area can be assigned controls associated with actions within the experience. This may sound complicated, but it’s similar to the process that PC gamers often use to assign repeat actions to softkeys.
Alternatively, the controller can take the place of other controllers specifically for VR experiences. Naturally, this is the area that we are most interested in here at ARPost.
For the record, the company makes it clear that this is not the primary use of the controller. They are pursuing a partnership with Oculus, but so far, nothing has materialized. The controller is meant to work with Steam VR (which works with Oculus) but hardware support is required as well. For what it’s worth, both companies were at CES 2020, so maybe they got some facetime.
The Future of VR Experiences?
At ARPost, we don’t have anything against the controllers already provided by VR companies or how they help us navigate VR experiences. However, we’re also all about innovation. We’re definitely looking forward to the etee Steam VR launch. We’re also rooting for an Oculus partnership but, as is typical in this field, anything can happen.