At a session breaking down the design of Touch during Oculus Connect, designers of the controller explored the choices that drove the form and functionality of the device.

Oculus Touch finally has an official launch date of December 6th and will begin pre-orders on Monday. Now that the design has been finalized after many engineering sample revisions seen over the last several months, the design team is talking about how the controller came to be.

SEE ALSO
Latest Version of Touch has Better Tracking & Longer Range, Says Oculus

Among the interesting info shared during a presentation at Oculus Connect, Touch Lead Electrical Engineer Jason Higgins said that the controller’s battery life had been optimized throughout the development cycle to the tune of a 40% improvement over the original ‘Half Moon’ prototype that was first revealed back in 2015. That improvement allows the controllers to run up to 30 hours on a single AA battery without haptics or up to around 20 hours with haptics, Higgins said.

Members of the Oculus Touch design team
Members of the Oculus Touch design team

And yes, it was confirmed that the final version of Touch will be powered by a removable AA battery that stows in the handle of the controller under a magnetic cover. When asked why the team chose not to go with an inbuilt rechargeable battery, Higgins said that the decision was largely driven by not wanting there to be a situation where a dead battery would prevent a player from jumping into VR right away; thus players would be able to simply swap in a new battery rather than waiting for a recharge.

oculus touch apple marketing
This image shows how the magnets would have connected the Touch controllers together during rest

Another change for the final Touch controller confirmed in the talk was the removal of internal magnets from a prior engineering sample. Previously the magnets had been added as a way to clip the controllers together for elegant storage as they sat out of use. However, players would sometimes feel the pull of the magnets when the controllers were near to each other, and ultimately the designers said they wanted to optimize for the experience during use rather than the storage use-case. So out went the magnets.

Also during the talk was the demonstration of a new pinch gesture that we hadn’t seen before. Through a series of capacitive sensors, Touch can understand some particular poses of the player’s hand, like a ‘thumbs up’, or a pointed index finger. Now with the capacitive pad on the face of the controller, users can form a pinch pose (that looks like an ‘OK’ gesture) by putting their thumb on the face-pad and pulling the trigger with their index finger. We also confirmed that the all-important ‘middle finger’ gesture could be supported by developers, but it isn’t one of the SDK’s pre-programmed gestures.

final-oculus-touch-box

And finally, there was a glimpse of what’s likely the final box that Touch will ship in, including the extra sensor that will be included for the $199 price.

SEE ALSO
Oculus Touch Pre-Orders Open October 10th at $199, Ships December 6th

These are the highlights from the presentation but there’s more to learn about the design of Oculus Touch by reading through our liveblog of the session.

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  • VRDRUMMER

    Way to go Oculus Touch design team! Great work!

  • nejihiashi88

    this is bad who want a non rechargeable battery !!

    • TheMCPowerz

      It’s rechargeable…it’s just a rechargeable AA battery XD. Also don’t judge the controllers just because you saw the words removable battery.

    • Evangeliman

      this is actually a good idea. you dont plan on replacing these every year or so, smaller rechargeable batteries lose life FAST… they would be next to useless in a few years. this way you have a choice as a consumer to purchase whatever battery you find favorable. you can buy your own rechargeable batteries if you want that. also you can swap out batteries and play right away, rather than having to wait for them to charge.

  • VRgameDevGirl

    So someone who does game design and will be using the controllers for a whole day straight will need to change out batteries every two days minimum. A pack of 4 is about $5 soooo ill be spending at least $5 a week on batteries… So at least $140 a year on batteries. Awesome.

    • Loafmeister

      … Or they use AA rechargeable batteries?

      • VRgameDevGirl

        I have tried using rechargable AA batteries and the charge is terrible. Last less than half as long.

        • PrymeFactor

          Rechargeable batteries work perfectly for Xbox One controllers. No reason why this won’t work otherwise here.

          Also, it’s not reasonable to say you’d be in VR for 5+ hours daily.

          • VRgameDevGirl

            Back and forth for 8 hours. I tried rechargeable back on the xbox360 and the controllers always died right away. Alot faster than a new pair of batteries. But that was a long time ago. I’m guessing they are more advanced now.

          • Yup, It’s because batteries have a bit higher voltage, with is 1,5V(?), and rechargeable batteries have 1,2V. But still if you compare normal batteries, and good reachargeable batteries with good chemistry, they should be equal.

          • G-man

            NI-Mh batteries are much better rechargeable batteries now. hold a charge far longer when not in use, higher operating voltage so last longer.

        • Per Fornander

          At least you can change aa batteries easily, it feels much safer for expensive products imo. What happens if the internal batteries gets fucked up?

        • Loafmeister

          It’s a fair point and I get that they may not last as long but even at half that is plenty of hours in a day and a second pair of rechargeable can be swapped out easily. At the end of the day I just don’t think it’s fair to make an issue of battery costs when rechargeable are available. Of course to each his/her own. Good luck with your development work

    • Joe Banes

      Where do you live that a four pack of batteries is 5 bucks. You can get a pack of 24 for 9.50 on Amazon. Actually 48 Amazon basic for 11.87. You may not like the battery choice, I don’t either but let’s not exaggerate. And rechargeable these days work pretty good. Just don’t buy an off brand. Guarantee someone will come up with a rechargeable adapter.

      • VRgameDevGirl

        If you don’t believe me ill take a photo the next time I’m at Wal-Mart.

        • Get Schwifty!

          Sounds like San Jose or somewhere on the We$t Coa$t…

        • Joe Banes

          Again. You have choices. Shop online if your local store is so outrageous.

    • wowgivemeabreak

      Buy some GOOD rechargeable batteries. Not hard.

      You do know that had it included a built in battery that it’d eventually lose the charge given the use you mention and you’d have to replace it, correct?

      Built in rechargeable batteries aren’t magical compared to those you can swap in and out.

      • VRgameDevGirl

        Your right. Its been years since i tried them. Maybe they are better now.

        • care package

          No rechargeable AAs still suck. I just bought rechargeables for my Xbox1. The Sams Club brand I buy 40 for $13 still last considerably longer.

    • wowgivemeabreak

      Another thing…you say you use the controllers for a whole day straight? So bam, you just stay in vr and use touch controllers continuously? Interesting that one can also program a game while inside the rift and using the controllers while writing the code for….the game and controllers.

      I know game dev is time consuming but I haven’t heard of people never sleeping and working on their games for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Do you have a toothbrush attached to the rift? Does it output water for when you bathe or do you not bathe? Does someone feed you while you are in vr? I’m guessing so since you apparently never take the headset off.

      Now IF you actually take breaks like clear logic and reality says you do seeing as you need to sleep, you can’t just charge the batteries then, even if they don’t hold as good a charge as you believe they don’t?

      You must be a millennial, with the complaining about a small matter and also embellishing like crazy.

      • VRgameDevGirl

        Wow. Nice rant.

    • TheMCPowerz

      On average you’d be playing about an hour and a half, so that would be 16 days before recharge, which is only like 2 hours. I’m sure you don’t have that busy of life.

      • VRgameDevGirl

        Ummmm…. I spend over 8 hours a day working on my game. I would get nothing done in an hour and a half.

        • TheMCPowerz

          Oh I didn’t know you were a developer, I’m a pure consumer XD. Well in that case you would definitely have more limitations, but at least you wouldn’t be spending 8 hours in-game.

      • locutus918

        i easily do 6+ hours a day in VR i dont know who is playing an hour and a half a day but thats just getting started for people i know

    • Ombra Alberto

      rechargeable batteries.

    • care package

      Or you could buy bigger packs (who just buys packs of 4 unless you are just refilling TV remotes). I pay about $13 for 40 non big name brand. Also, a charge last an average of 25 hours. You going to spend 12.5 hours a day using Touch?
      Let’s see here. Spend roughly a generous 5 hours a day, minus a few days, gonna take a week to get through a pair. That’s 20 weeks at $13 or about $32 a year.

    • Get Schwifty!

      Put some in the freezer to recover, probably save $20 a year LOL :)

      Seriously, that does kinda suck.

    • You should stop buying your batteries at the convenience store and buy them online like an adult. Amazon has some nice deals… https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-Performance-Alkaline-Batteries-48-Pack/dp/B00MNV8E0C

      That’s about 24 cents a battery, as opposed to $1.25. One pack of these every 3 months should keep up with even the most avid VR addict.

    • Evangeliman

      for a ‘gamedev’ you dont have good critical thinking skills. the size of an internal battery for these small controllers would be a terrible, terrible battery life. and they would become useless in as little as a year if you really play as much as you like. current battery tech degrades faster than you think, and it degrades faster on low capacity batteries that need to be charged more often.

      • VRgameDevGirl

        Like I told everyone else, awhile ago, I was wrong about rechargable batteries. They have gotten alot better over the years……The touch control’s work great! I love them!!!!!

  • Flamerate1

    So when can I get a bundle?

    • Evangeliman

      now.

  • Juakin Bm

    wow!, AA batteries, the future is here!!!

    • Computers in 1950, use electricity and computers in 2016 use the electricity. So controllers use an electric current to operate from the AA should not surprise you …

      Sory for my english.

  • locutus918

    What i dont understand is why another sensor? Can it not work with the one that comes with Rift? Seems like a way to increase price by selling me something i have to store and never use. Along with the Xbox controller that i have a crap ton of laying around from the 3 Xbox1 that are in the house. You could cut cost and Sell more units by offering Packs with and without aditional sensors and controllers.