Position tracked mobile VR headsets still seem disapointingly far away, but uSens may have just taken a big step towards making them a reality.
The tracking specialist has this week announced the launch of both software and hardware developer kits for its new Fingo series of sensors that can be attached to both mobile and tethered VR devices, though mainly apply to the former. For now, the company is offering three different models in the Fingo line, each of which features 26-DOF (degrees of freedom) controller-free hand-tracking, similar to what can be seen with the Leap Motion sensor that also saw a major update this month.
uSens itself raised $20 million to work on this tech earlier this year, and it seems to have put that investment to good use. All three models also boast 6-DOF positional tracking, which is obviously a much bigger factor for the likes of the Gear VR and Google Cardboard-like headsets than it is the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. The entry-level device has marker-based tracking while other models use an inside-out alternative that utilizes passthrough cameras. That about sums up the entry level of the Fingo, though the two other versions also add some significant upgrades.
The Color Fingo is the mid-level entry for the series, adding an augmented reality overlay. You can also transition between both AR and VR with the kit. As you can see in the video above, this essentially uses a camera to combine the real world with the virtual one, with the user stepping through a portal to switch between them. Though not necessarily exclusive to the Fingo device, this is one of the first times we’ve seen this sort of transition in action in such a seamless fashion and it does present some unique opportunities for VR content.
Finally, we have the Power Fingo, which includes its own battery and processor from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line. That helps divert some of the heavy lifting from the phone itself. Obviously most of these features are more relevant to mobile headsets than tethered ones, which feature their own position tracking and input systems, though hand-tracking isn’t native to any major headset just yet.
Also launched in Beta form is the company’s software development kit (SDK) that will let you actually create experiences for the device. You’ll need an account, but you can go through this portal to both get your hands on it and request a developer kit for Fingo hardware.
uSens’ tech certainly looks interesting, but it’s up to developers to actually utilize it in their content. That’s a battle the company will now be looking to win.