Noitom have unveiled their VR gloves which aim to put your hands and fingers into virtual reality with motion tracking provided courtesy of HTC’s recently launched Vive Tracker accessory.
We’ve now got a number of contenders for the accolade of ‘first VR glove to live up to the sci-fi hype’, all with slightly different approaches to the challenge of putting your hands, fingers and all, into VR. The latest is Noitom’s Hi5 VR gloves which were unveiled alongside a raft of other accessories at HTC’s press event at CES yesterday.
The Hi5 gloves integrate with the Vive Tracker puck through a wrist-mounted interface (along with a battery for each), one for each hand. The Vive Tracker then takes on positional tracking marker duties through SteamVR’s Lighthouse tracking leaving the gloves themselves to detect individual finger and thumb movement through a series of MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) which gauge the extension and position of each digit. The press release for the device quotes “pattern recognition” presumably in relation to interpreting finger tracking data in order to be used in applications proper.
Fuse these sensor feeds together and you have the ability to render a user’s hands precisely in 3D space along with input from each finger’s position. If you’re thinking of the iconic (if entirely impractical) gloves from the Tom Cruise sci-fi film Minority Report, you’ll have some kinds of idea of what Noitom are aiming to offer with the Hi5.
We’ve seen the Vive Tracker in action now on numerous devices, and it seems to be an excellent way to harness that great room-scale tracking precision Valve’s Lighthouse tracking system does so well.
Noitom, just in case you didn’t know, are primarily a motion capture technology company, also behind the VR-angled Neuro Perception mocap suit. We witnessed some earlier VR experimentation leveraging their more traditional MoCap technology last year.
Noitom claim that they’re aiming to have the Hi5 gloves on release for Spring 2017, although there’s scant detail on pricing, battery life of indeed how the company intend to square the ever present circle of software support for a proprietary peripheral, always a challenge. We’re hoping to get up close with the Hi5 during CES this week, so stay tuned for further thoughts on the devices.