Software developer Jimmy Gray is working on a modification to HTC Vive’s controllers so they work much like Valve’s Knuckles prototypes, with finger tracking.
Gray is working on a number of VR input devices. With Tactil (formerly known as Dactyl), he’s built a modification that allows “users to have finger tracking with the current Vive controllers,” Gray wrote in a message.
My original goal was to see if I could emulate the Valve Knuckles prototype using the existing Vive controllers, and to see if it could make sense functionally and ergonomically. From the start, I knew that it would be easiest to start prototyping with flex sensors, and since I had a working hardware and software stack with another DIY project I was working on I then found it easy to get up and running in terms of a wireless hardware solution. I started doing some CAD modeling for the actual plastic pieces that mount to the Vive controllers. I ended up coming with a working design prototype, although the finger straps are a bit too short still, and I’m currently working on those.
He took inspiration from a Kickstarter that eventually closed down and then “rigged some rubber bands to the wrist strap included with the Vive controller.”
Gray posted to the r/Vive subreddit and was encouraged by the response. He then made a video showing the design in action.
Gray is considering a crowdfunding campaign for the accessory with the possibility of open-sourcing the design for the VR community to work with “while still funding a batch of kits to send out to devs and/or everyday Vive users who eventually might want to emulate the Knuckles controllers with their existing Vive controllers.”
He wants to build a software development kit so creators can use the extra functionality of his controllers in their designs. He’s also hoping to eventually emulate the actual Knuckles controllers “so that they’d more or less just work out of the box.”
Gray is still trying to improve the modification, hoping to make it work with the Vive Tracker and offer full five finger tracking.
Right now the Vive controller accessory is what I’m trying to focus on getting into the hands of Vive owners and developers. Once the Valve Knuckles hit the market, if they ever do, I hope my solution could not only have parity with them via being able to emulate them, but that my solution could also provide other features that developers and users would be interested in utilizing.
Let Gray know in the comments what you think and we’ll bring you any big updates about the controllers.