Manus VR’s Gloves in Action Using Valve’s Lighthouse Tracking for Hands and Arms

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We’ve been tracking Manus VR, the start-up dedicated to producing an intuitive VR glove input device, for a while now. The team were present at GDC in March, showing their latest prototype glove along with their in-house developed game Pillow’s Willow.

One of the privileges of writing for Road to VR is to watch small, independent start-ups with great ideas blossom rapidly inside the VR space. Manus VR is one such company who’ve moved from crude looking, Gear VR based early designs through to slick looking functional iterations, as shows at March’s GDC running on desktop PC hardware alongside the HTC Vive.

manus-machina-gloves-1
Early Manus Glove Prototypes

Manus VR brought along their latest gloves to the show along with an early
version of their showcase game, with integrated support for the gloves – footage you can see in the embedded video a the top of this page.

Manus is using Lighthouse integration, albeit somewhat crudely at this stage, by literally strapping a SteamVR controller to the arms of the player. Positional tracking from those controls are then fused with input for each finger to provide a fairly intuitive looking way to interact. If you check the video embedded above, you’ll see the player grab objects from the world, rotate, pass from hand to hand, all pretty seamlessly.

Manus have also recently released a sneak preview of their research into getting those disembodied hands tied to arms, for a less disconcerting projection of your digital self in VR, as seen in the below video.

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Manus VR have already announced that their first developer kit edition gloves will ship in Q3 2016 and will set you back $250. Developers can put themselves down for a pre-order reservation now and for your money you’ll receive a pair of Manus gloves, plugins for Unity and Unreal Engine and access to the SDK for Android, Windows 7+, Linux, iOS 9, Mac OSX.

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  • I_Am_Bitter

    This product looks very promising. However, I’m slightly disappointed they didn’t go with the name “Manos: Hands of Fate”

    • Jeff Recobs

      Exactly what I thought the first time I heard of the company. Probably not to many people gonna get that one though.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    In this case the vivecontrollers are used to track the arm, it has nothing to do with the hands themselves..

  • Bargalarg

    One thing I don’t see in these videos is the fidelity of the finger-tracking. Does it measure full range movement, or is it a binary open/closed button for each? All I see here are fists and open hands. Do they have any videos showing more detailed finger movement?

    • kalqlate

      I’m sure it depends on the app. This was indeed a pretty poor demo of the glove’s capabilities. A better demo would’ve been piano playing or something that required dexterity. As it was, this was just an app designed for single-button controllers for proximity touch and hand opened or closed..

  • ra51

    Is there any tactile feedback? Also, is there any benefits of using this over LeapMotion which can already track your hands without gloves?

    • Klasodeth

      The advantages of Manus over Leap Motion are that the Manus tracking is reliable and that your hands don’t have to be directly in view of a specific sensor. Occlusion is a non-issue with the sensors integrated into the Manus gloves, whereas Leap Motion frequently has trouble tracking fingers even in cases where there’s only moderate occlusion. Leap Motion also only tracks hands if they’re in view of the sensor–which for VR means only when they’re in front of your face, whereas the Manus gloves can track even when you’re not looking at them.

      For a simple example, if you’re holding a virtual object in your hand using Leap Motion, and then put your hand to your side without looking at it, Leap Motion doesn’t even know where your hand is anymore–let alone whether you’re still holding the object. It has no way to tell whether or not you decided to drop the object until you aim the sensor at your hand.

      With the Manus gloves in that same scenario, they would still recognize what every finger on your hand is doing, and would also recognize whether or not you decided to drop the virtual object in your hand, all without having to look at your hand.

      • ra51

        Ok i see what you mean now. Just tested out the Blocks demo and it does lose tracking when your hands go out of view.

  • TTman

    There is almost Zero innovation here, it’s trivial to put multiple flex resistors with an arduino board, an 8 year old can do this with a little work and cost like $20 not $250.

    There is no sensor fusion as they are independent. Funny how everyone likes to jump on the VR gravy train with lame ideas.

    • VRguru

      And yet none have been able to do so. It’s easy to say something isn’t innovative when one has clearly no knowledge about it.

      • Marco Grubert

        What are you talking about? This is just like a Nintendo Powerglove. Well except that it already had positional tracking 25+ years ago and sold for less.

    • Gus Bisbal

      Flex sensors = $7.95 x 10 = $79.50
      Arduino mini = $10
      Gloves =$10

      Raw materials in low volume = $100

      Then you have to work on putting them together.

      Where do you get your $20.

      Also get your 8 year old and give me all of this and see what they do. Its isn’t going to be what your describing.

      By the way once you have the Arduino working what do send back to the games you’re playing? Do describe the EXACT architecture to be used? We are all listening.

  • Given, as many have pointed out, they seem simplistic for $250. But having hands in VR is *VERY* nice. My time with the Leap Motion has shown that even imperfect hands can do wonderful things. Nothing helps virtual conversations more then just simple hand gestures, and interacting with the world feels best with real hands. If no better options merge soon (like Leap doing SOMETHING to fix those hands once and for all), this kit might have to do.