The Samsung and Oculus engineered Gear VR mobile headset is available in many countries now at retail, but unlike it’s desktop brethren from Oculus and Valve / HTC, it currently relies on basic, standard input for its applications. Samsung look to be changing that in 2016, as they prepare to demo a new motion controller designed for more intuitive control in virtual reality. It’s called Rink, and it’ll be shown at CES next week.
With the first generation of consumer VR headsets flooding into the market in the first half of 2016, the question of input inside virtual spaces will loom large next year. Valve have their Lighthouse tracked SteamVR controllers, due to ship with HTC’s Vive in April 2016 and Oculus aren’t far behind them with their optically tracked Touch controllers in Q2 2016. Up until now though, those looking to interact with Gear VR VR content have had to be content with either traditional, wireless gamepads, gaze control mechanisms using your head’s orientation or the unit’s integrated touchpad.
It seems that Samsung are keenly aware of this shortfall in delivering a compelling mobile VR experience as they’re due to demonstrate a prototype motion controller at CES 2016 designed to bridge this gap. It’s called ‘rink’ and we don’t know too much about it at this stage, other that it’s developed by Samsung’s C-Labs R&D division.
What we can ascertain or guess (and as you can see from the image above) is that it looks to be a wireless, single-handed peripheral into which your hand slips, as if holding a very large cup or mug. Samsung’s news release doesn’t offer many details, simply describign the device thus:
rink is an advanced hand-motion controller for mobile VR devices which offers a more intuitive and nuanced way to interact with the virtual world. The ability to intuitively control the game or content just by using their hands provides consumers with a much deeper level of mobile VR immersion.
The released image calls up other speculation though, as the wearer seems to have an additional box mounted atop the Gear VR headset, which might either be an optical device, used for tracking the peripheral or perhaps a wireless hub used for processing input and passing it onto the phone powering the Gear VR experience. All wild speculation at this point of course, and we’d love to hear your thoughts and theories in the comments section.
Either way, we’ll be at CES 2016 next week to try and find as many details as possible and hopefully get our hands on the new device.