PlayStation Prototyped Minority Report-Style Gloves

by Jamie Feltham • May 3rd, 2017

PlayStation’s Magic Lab R&D team is one of the major reasons why PlayStation VR (PSVR) exists. Sadly the team’s work with a Minority Report-style input glove didn’t get as far.

Speaking at this week’s GamesBeat Summit, Magic Lab’s Dr. Richard Marks, a man instrumental in the creation of PSVR, revealed a quick look at a prototype version of these gloves, as reported by VentureBeat.

“We’ve created a lot of different prototypes,” Marks said on-stage. “One was generated by our interns. They saw the movie Minority Report — and the next morning they built this thing to do the same kind of input for a game system.”

For those that haven’t seen the Tom Cruise sci-fi movie, Minority Report features scenes in which people interact with holographic icons and information using their hands alone. The futuristic concept inspired many VR developers to create similar systems for virtual worlds though, as many have noted, holding your hands out all the time to type can be exhausting.

Still, this kind of input could still very useful for VR. The picture shows a glove that covers two of the user’s fingers as well as a thumb. We’d love to have seen it in action. Apparently this work actually pre-dates PSVR itself; Magic Labs used some of its work here to develop the headset.

Sadly, this was one of no doubt many Magic Labs projects that never saw the light of day. “It can be difficult if you invest a lot of your time as a researcher, and then it doesn’t end up going past some point — it’s a difficult thing to let go and realize it’s just not the right thing for your company,” said Marks. “But sometimes those ideas do come back later, so it’s not always a bad thing.”

Sony’s current input for VR extends to its DualShock 4 gamepad and its PlayStation Move position-tracked controls. The latter work well enough though weren’t designed for the VR headset itself. We’d love to see something a little more immersive hit the system one day.

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