Oculus has announced that the hand tracking feature that it promised for its Oculus Quest VR headset earlier this year at Oculus Connect 6 will launch this week, well ahead of the 2020 release window it had initially indicated.
The update brings in native hand tracking, without the need for any controllers, in the Quest’s menus and first-party apps, letting you use gesture controls like pinches and pointing to navigate around Oculus’ menus.
To get the feature, Quest owners just need to update their headset to firmware version 12 when it becomes available to them this week. That will add the option for hand tracking to the experimental features available in the Quest’s settings menu.
Handily, this won’t lock you out of using controllers – it’ll add a toggle to the Oculus Home menu letting you switch between modes. The feature looks pretty natural, and takes us an all-important step closer to the Minority Report-style interfaces that we dream of.
Just as important as the early consumer release of hand tracking, though, Oculus has also confirmed that it’s releasing an SDK for the feature next week. This will let third-party developers work the control scheme into their apps, meaning that you might be able to leave controllers behind entirely at some point.
For now, though, you’ll be largely limited to browsing the Oculus Store, and watching videos and content using the Oculus Browser and Oculus TV. Interestingly, it also looks like the feature isn’t planned in any shape for Oculus’ other headsets, so this is a Quest exclusive for now at least.
Given that most other VR hand tracking requires extra purchases, such as Leap Motion’s module for the HTC Vive, this is still a really exciting step forward for the consumer market.