After revealing the Touch ‘Half Moon’ prototype earlier in 2015, Oculus has continued to hone the already impressively designed VR controller. Alongside an update stating that Touch would be shipped in the second half of 2016, the company also released a new photo of the latest design.
Throughout the course of the young company, Oculus has revealed a number of named prototype devices and development kits which represent a culmination of the latest hardware developments. For the company’s headsets, we saw the progression of the original development kit, the ‘DK1’ to the ‘HD Prototype’ then on to the ‘Crystal Cove’ prototype and the ‘DK2’, eventually seeing the Crescent Bay prototype followed by the so-called ‘CV1’, the consumer version of the Oculus Rift.
Development of the company’s Touch VR controller seems to be following suit, with the ‘Half Moon’ prototype being the first to be shown earlier in 2015, sharing a lineage among some 300 prior internal permutations.
Since the release of Half Moon, Oculus has continued refining Touch. The company claims that the latest version, which was teased with a recently released photo, brings “significant advances in ergonomics,” and further improves upon the VR controller’s ability to recognize hand gestures.
The most notable difference between Half Moon and the new Touch prototype is that the IR tracking LEDs have been covered over with an IR-transparent plastic, much like we saw starting with the Rift DK2. The cutlass shape is now also sporting a white Oculus logo.
More subtle changes in the shape of the controller can be seen most easily in the thumb sticks which now appear with a tilt in the direction of the thumb. The handle part of the controller appears to be even smaller than prior prototypes.
When I had my first chance to try the Touch Half Moon prototype back at E3 2015, I was thoroughly impressed with the intuitive and ergonomic design.
Oculus’ insights go beyond mere ergonomics; proprioceptive parity was a clear priority of the controller’s design prompt, making Touch the most comfortable and natural VR controller I’ve ever used. The company’s positional tracking prowess means they are tracked nearly flawlessly. Unknown price aside, Touch is poised to be the best VR motion controller out there.
We’d later learn that not only can Touch track the position of the controllers and a limited number of hand gestures, but it can also sense when buttons on the controller are touched.
In the update which included the new Touch design, Oculus says “[we] promise Touch will be worth the wait.”