An open-source project is bringing controller-free hand tracking to PC VR headsets.
The open-source Linux-based OpenXR platform Monado just added hand tracking. Hand tracking is a built-in feature on standalone headsets like Quest, Pico 4, and Vive XR Elite, but isn’t currently natively available on SteamVR except through 3rd party attachments such as Ultraleap.
The new feature fully supports Valve Index and has “degraded quality” support for Oculus Rift S and WMR headsets like HP Reverb G2 – though that should be fixed “soon”.
Collabora, the group developing Monado, claims the feature can track fast hand movements and is usable for drawing, typing, and UI interaction in specialized apps. It’s mainly intended to be used with your hands separated, with “limited” support for hand-over-hand interactions.
Monado also supports inside-out headset positional tracking on Linux, allowing Valve Index to be used without base stations.
Of course, almost all PC VR owners use their headsets through Windows, not Linux. Collabora says a Windows SteamVR driver for its hand tracking tech should arrive “in the coming weeks”, alongside improvements to stability and jitter. There are no announced plans for the headset positional tracking to come to Windows, though.
Whether the driver will become popular enough to encourage developers of games with support for hand tracking on standalone headsets to also support it on PC is a very different question, but for specialized applications this could still prove a very useful feature.