iFixit continue their relentless quest to pull apart every electronic gadget they can get their hands on, including a detailed teardown of the Oculus Touch controllers (which slipped by us on the run up to the Winter holiday season).

The Oculus Touch motion controllers took longer to reach the market than many would have liked, but the final product was very well received. As an ergonomics exercise, Touch comfortably surpassed HTC’s Vive controllers, being more naturally sculpted (with opposing shapes for the left and right hand), and with better weight distribution, allowing them to rest in the palms with only a loose grip. And being far more compact too, it is also an impressive design exercise, so it’s interesting to see the units disassembled and find where (and how) all the components have been stuffed inside.

oculus touch teardown (5)
Photo courtesy iFixit (BY-NC-SA)

Oculus doesn’t expect the end user to fiddle with the Touch internals, so it’s no surprise that there are a bunch of hidden screws and layers of glue obstructing the teardown process. Once inside, the complex packaging job is revealed, with its densely layered circuit boards barely wasting any space.

oculus touch teardown (3)
Photo courtesy iFixit (BY-NC-SA)

The ‘spinal cord’ of the LED array is a neat design, containing 22 of the 24 IR LEDs that are concealed behind the surface of the controller’s tracking ring, much like the hidden LEDs in the Rift headset. iFixit points out that 24 is also the number of sensors embedded in each Vive controller; probably a coincidence, considering the two systems take very different approaches to tracking.

oculus touch teardown (2)
Photo courtesy iFixit (BY-NC-SA)

The main board is crammed full of components, including some familiar Bluetooth and motion processing chips. It also features two springs that sit below the face buttons, which are part of the capacitive sensing circuit. The linear oscillator is mounted low down in the grip, near the battery, as it would deliver the most effective vibration there, while also helping to achieve the Touch’s excellent weight distribution.

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For all the details, including plenty more detailed images of the hardware and components inside, visit the full teardown at iFixit.

If you liked this, you might also enjoy the Rift teardown, PSVR teardown, and HDK2 teardown.

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The trial version of Microsoft’s Monster Truck Madness probably had something to do with it. And certainly the original Super Mario Kart and Gran Turismo. A car nut from an early age, Dominic was always drawn to racing games above all other genres. Now a seasoned driving simulation enthusiast, and former editor of Sim Racer magazine, Dominic has followed virtual reality developments with keen interest, as cockpit-based simulation is a perfect match for the technology. Conditions could hardly be more ideal, a scientist once said. Writing about simulators lead him to Road to VR, whose broad coverage of the industry revealed the bigger picture and limitless potential of the medium. Passionate about technology and a lifelong PC gamer, Dominic suffers from the ‘tweak for days’ PC gaming condition, where he plays the same section over and over at every possible combination of visual settings to find the right balance between fidelity and performance. Based within The Fens of Lincolnshire (it’s very flat), Dominic can sometimes be found marvelling at the real world’s ‘draw distance’, wishing virtual technologies would catch up.
  • Justos

    FWIW theres also a vive teardown

  • Get Schwifty!

    LOL is this breakdown taken from the HTC team working on their new controllers?

    • MasterElwood


    • Rogue_Transfer

      HTC isn’t developing the ‘new controllers’. It’s actually again Valve, who collaborated with Oculus originally on an HMD. Valve are also this time going to be producing the new controllers themselves.

      Valve is also spinning up a new production line for a revised Lighthouse design with fewer parts. It’s interesting how Valve seem to be getting more into the hardware production side, while still (currently) leaving the HMD to HTC production.

      Makes you wonder – will Valve have a new HMD design in-the-works too? The Vive could use one, particularly ergonomically. I expect them to learn from Sony.

      It’s going to get interesting, now we know other companies are working on HMDs using Lighthouse have yet to announce their products(according to Valve’s boss Gabe Newell). It’s beginning to look more like monitor brand names, which is really how it should be.

  • “iFixit points out that 24 is also the number of sensors embedded in each Vive controller; probably a coincidence”

    I’d think the difference in methods shouldn’t matter so much here and the number is more likely a fact of the device size vs tracking resolution. The Rift uses outside in tracking, but the point of view for the “camera” (literal in the case of the rift) is a pinpoint in space and is watching a human-scale controller with tracking points on it. For the vive, the lighthouse is emitting from a very small point in space still (maybe 4″^2 on the high side, but still relatively small like the POV of a camera) and the sensors would likely be placed at similar spacing to IR emitters for the same reason; the scale of the controller, person, room, emitter (camera in case of vive) are all quite similar functionally, especially since both are using light.

    If the rift had a significantly larger sensor (and aperture for it) or the lighthouse was emitting from a larger area, the effects on tracking would be similar. The laser scanning speed of the lighthouses likely maps closely to the frame rate of the rift cameras for similar reasons (limitations of USB bus and computational requirements) and those both affect the tracking resolution (and rate) of each system.

    Fewer tracking points and you also get less resolution, but more and you have more computation and hardware requirements.

    Yes, different implementations, but I think not really all that different in terms of the factors involved in putting them into a real product, dealing with the scales involved and relying on light in the context of what PC hardware can do.

    Where the 2 really differ is how the solutions scale in terms of tracking resolution (lighthouse actually gets more resolution at a distance while a camera gets less) and data throughput (lighthouse needs a fraction of data per tracker compared to a camera). Ultimately, this is why Vive has better room-scale and will be more expandable with less tracking error.