The wireless motion controllers, designed for virtual reality input, the Sixense STEM system has had a rocky road since its hugely successful Kickstarter campaign concluded. Design issues and seemingly insurmountable FCC certification problems meant the date which backers could look forward to receiving their units kept being pushed back. Now it seems there is light at the end of the tunnel, in a new Kickstarter update sent to backers.

Sixense, makers of the Razer Hydra and inventors of the promising motion controller tech STEM, have had a tough couple of years since their hugely successful Kickstarter campaign finished at over $600k, 241% of their original $250k goal, back in October 2013. The technology has come a long way but, beleaguered by strict FCC regulation testing and design problems, the systems have yet to ship to backers.

Ben Lang goes hands-on with STEM last year

The company has now released a new road-map and stated that “We’re just about three months from shipping now and we’re still making positive headway.” They do however, add a not of caution, as is probably prudent given the project’s history thus far – including the remaining steps on the road to the STEM’s release.


Note the still remaining certification for compliance, which has this far been the bugbear of this project, but the final date for shipping does currently fall within this year – which means STEM system backers could receive an early Christmas present in December.

See Also: Hands-on: IMU Added to Sixense STEM VR Motion Controller Underscores Impressive Performance

STEM remains a hugely interesting piece of input technology and our time with the device has impressed us in the past, but the last 12 months has seen the VR input space expand and change rapidly with the unveiling of Valve’s Lighthouse tracked SteamVR controllers at GDC in March and Oculus’ Touch, which we saw at E3 this year. It’ll be interesting to see where STEM, once the only game in town fits into this competitive landscape.

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  • Curtrock

    I am a $300 backer of the STEM system. I will NOT spend the additional money required for shipping, when/if Sixense finally contacts me regarding completion of their product. There are 3 input solutions now that are completely viable & paired with their corresponding HMD’s. (Sony, Oculus, HTC) For me, the STEM’s functionality has been effectively leap-frogged. I hope for Sixense’s sake, that the OSVR community embraces the STEM, as I don’t see much of a demand for their product elsewhere. The only thing more disappointing for me than the fatal delays the STEM has faced, is the hopes dashed that their MakeVR software was going to be the icing on the cake for the STEM system. If they can manage to bundle both products together at a reasonable price, then perhaps there is hope.

  • Don Gateley

    I no longer back crowd funded projects because this is the norm. FWIW, any product requiring FCC certification is by definition open ended. The process is iffy at best and likely to be a prolonged ordeal with at least one re-design in the loop.

  • Max Pittsley

    I’m going to keep my pre-order. Fully-tracked cords-free mobile VR sounds worth the wait to me.

    Sure, their PR could use a LOT of work. Kickstarter-backed hardware companies should make it very clear that the process is the bumpeist of roads, that timing is the one thing they can’t promise – Sixense failed to do that. Don’s got the right idea. I understand that people are upset that they paid for something, and now have a potentially-cheaper alternative – but that’s the sacrifice you make when pre-ordering any product. I really just hate to see so much public hate toward a VR company that isn’t practicing active treachery. If delays were necessary to release a good product, well, that’s what we need to ensure that VR doesn’t flop. Heck, I almost wonder if it’s a bad move to release this in December, before most of the VR content will be available.

    The fact is, the product is solid. As a dev, I shouldn’t publicly bash any of the competitors, but I can say that this VR input system is my favorite to work and demo with. Occlusion really bugs me. I do expect the competitors to improve before release, though, and for all of the offerings to be on par with each other, with pros and cons but no clear ‘winner’.

  • Developers if you are still hardly looking for input technology, I want to recommend Ximmerse, the input solution comprised of stereo camera and joystick that enables 6DOF tracking. DM me for more information.

    • Jack H

      Is that you Emma C. of Ximmerse Ltd.? Doing a bit of marketing?

    • Mable Sharkfin

      Fuck off Emma!

  • Mable Sharkfin

    And here we are, March *2017* – the STEM has **STILL** not shipped!!! Pathetic company.

    • Mable Sharkfin

      Update – August 2017. Still not a SINGLE unit shipped!!