Samsung Showing Experimental ‘Rink’ Motion Controller at CES

by Ian Hamilton • December 31st, 2015

Samsung is planning to show a “hand-motion controller” for VR at the Consumer Electronics Show to assess its “market potential and to gather hands-on feedback.”

The experimental “rink” device is still in development. It is shown in a single photo from Samsung (the image above) but a few more popped up on Reddit:

rink2 rink 3

The controller is one of a series of projects emerging from Samsung’s internal lab. Here’s the entire description of the hand controller via a press release:

rink is an advanced hand-motion controller for mobile VR devices which offers a more intuitive and nuanced way to interact with the virtual world. The ability to intuitively control the game or content just by using their hands provides consumers with a much deeper level of mobile VR immersion.

There’s also apparently a video:

It’s unclear how the controller is tracked but the provided image shows a box mounted on top of the mobile Gear VR headset. There’s also an outline of a tennis racket in the main image, suggesting Samsung conceived the device as enabling that kind of virtual game. The current Gear VR headset doesn’t have positional tracking, though, so even a slight lean forward or body movement left to right wouldn’t be matched in VR and would potentially cause discomfort.

Positional tracking with a mobile VR headset is a huge technical problem requiring a lot of processing and battery power. If solved effectively, it would make untethered VR a much more compelling experience. In other words, we have a hard time picturing how good an experience is possible with “rink” unless Samsung has worked out some way of simulating positional tracking or come up with innovative software experiences that make use of arm movement but don’t require too much back and forth or side to side body movement. We are definitely intrigued. Perhaps this is intended for the Samsung S7 or beyond?

UploadVR will be all over CES next week and we’ll keep an eye out for the demo.