Manus VR, a small startup working to create useable VR gloves that bring your hands and fingers into virtual reality, revealed its latest innovation today: full arm tracking. And it looks like the company is off to promising start.
The video below demonstrates arm and elbow positional tracking working almost flawlessly. Manus VR strapped an HTC Vive wand controller to the forearms of the company’s lead engineer, Stijn Stempel, for the demo. The team was able to recreate surprisingly accurate elbow and arm movement by using the tracking information from the Vive controller. At the same time, the gloves were used to track hand and finger movement.
The current generation of VR titles often feature floating hands that aren’t attached to arms at all. These have become the unofficial standard for first person VR development. Crytek explained very clearly in a development diary for The Climb why VR games don’t usually feature full arms. If your physical arm movement doesn’t precisely match that of the arm you are seeing, it breaks presence very quickly. For whatever reason, having hands that are tracked accurately with no arms at all is, apparently, easier for your mind to dismiss than a poorly-tracked arm.
Manus VR is seeking a solution for this problem, because it believes there are cases when having your arms in the game would be paramount. An example the company offered up is the Pip-Boy from Fallout. If you don’t have arms, it's hard to check something on your wrist.
The Manus SDK will be released in June, and the hand-tracking feature will be included. The company said development on tracking arms is still experimental, but it hopes to build the feature into an integrated solution that interfaces with HTC Vive’s Lighthouse tracking system.