Hand Tracking now activates automatically on Oculus Quest when you aren’t using the Touch controllers.
The feature is the biggest change in the new v13 software update to Quest headsets which is rolling out over the week. Facebook added experimental controller-free hand tracking for Quest in December. It lets you use your hands in the open air to interact with VR content rather than through Touch controllers. This is done through advanced computer vision algorithms powered by machine learning.
Until now, however, the feature had to be activated manually from the main menu each time, at which point you’d place down your Touch controllers and see your hands. To re-enable Touch controllers, you had to either disable the feature or reboot the headset.
The v13 update introduces an option to have Hand Tracking enabled automatically whenever you place down your Touch controllers, and disable automatically when you pick them back up again. This significantly reduces the friction of using the experimental feature, and means that when you put on your Quest to quickly view or try something out you’ll instantly see your hands.
The option is enabled by default if you’ve enabled Hand Tracking. We’re not quite sure why you’d want to turn it off, but you can find it in the ‘Experimental’ tab of the Settings if you do.
The Oculus Store still doesn’t seem to be accepting updates for controller-free hand tracking, so you can still only use the feature in the built-in system apps. That’s of course unless you download content from SideQuest, the unofficial alternate store for Quest content.
Apps using the Hand Tracking SDK can declare that they support both controllers and hand-tracking. This means you can actually switch between the two during games, not just in the menu. We tested this out with Tea for God (available from SideQuest) and found it works.
This could enable games which ask you to switch between controllers and hands for different sections based on what works best — provided the Oculus Store policies allow for this kind of mechanic.
Quest firmware v13 is rolling out this week. If you don’t have it already, try leaving your headset on standby connected to both power and WiFi.