Oculus Quest and Rift S use similar inside-out tracking which relies on cameras on the headsets to not only track the user’s head but also their hands. While this works well in many cases, at launch there was something of a deadzone when bringing the hands very close to the headset which could lead to spotty tracking. With an update now rolling out publicly to Quest and Rift S, Oculus says that tracking in this specific area has been improved.

While Quest & Rift S surely have the widest controller tracking coverage we’ve from similar inside-out systems, both had notable deadzones when bringing the controllers very close to the headset. In many cases where the controllers only briefly pass through the deadzone, tracking is handled gracefully by making some best guesses about their location. However, in games where the player’s hands are continuously in the deadzone, those estimations become inaccurate, leading to occasionally seeing your hands drift or disappear.

Image courtesy Oculus

This especially impacted realistic shooter games like Pavlov (2017)—where the player’s trigger hand would be held nearly up to their cheek while looking down the scope—and CREED: Rise to Glory (2018)—where the player is asked to hold their hands up in front of their face to block incoming punches.

In an update rolling out to the public today on both Quest and Rift S, Oculus says these specific situations have been improved, though they don’t go so far as saying they’ve been been fixed entirely. “We’ve fine-tuned our Oculus Touch controller tracking algorithms to improve accuracy for certain poses, like when your hands are close to the headset or angled away from it,” the company writes in a blog post.

Here's What Meta Says About Camera Privacy on Quest & Quest Pro

We’ll need some time to go hands on with the update and get a feel for it ourselves, but in the meantime this video shows tracking footage on the Rift S using the new update, and it does look like things have been notably improved.

Newsletter graphic

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. More information.

Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Xron

    Any news about their plans for 2nd gen headsets?
    Or we will have to wait till Oculus Connect 6? September 25 & 26, 2019.
    P.s its great that they are improving tracking. Now we need some haptic gloves for average consumers :)

    • TJ Studio

      We can probably wait till Oculus Connect 6 and will see how it goes.

    • Adrian Meredith

      I’d say they’re at least 2-3 years away at this point

    • Grey Lock

      I love to hear something this September, but I think it’s more likely something they’ll announce next year to avoid hurting sales this year.

    • Mei Ling

      Michael Abrash will deliver some speeches as usual but I don’t think any specific mention of the next generation devices will happen. Hopefully his prediction will remain the same and unchanged; not pushed another year or two as he has done over the past two Connects. This will mean good news as the technology they’re developing is right on track and they haven’t run into any major obstacles.

      2020 Oculus Connect will have a clear mention of what to expect and hopefully something will be released in 2021 for one of the products in their range (Oculus Go 2 (?)) to appease impatient consumers and a second flagship product in 2022 (Oculus Quest 2 with foveated rendering, eye tracking(?)).

  • jwvanderbeck

    The two biggest problems I have with my Rift S controllers are:
    1) If I let my hands rest naturally at my sides, arms extended down, the left controller for some reason will often lose tracking and start drifting. Also oddly Arkham VR constantly loses my left controller.
    2) They won’t go to sleep when not in use! This drives me crazy. I practically never had to swap batteries in the touch on my CV1, but these new ones I have to swap batteries either every time I play or every other time because they seem incapable of going into a low power mode when not in use, and Home isn’t running.

    • David Wilhelm

      Make sure no buttons are pressed

      • jwvanderbeck

        They aren’t. Its a flaw in the new touch controllers apparently. I’m not the only one to notice it. I store my new touch controllers exactly the same way as the old touch controllers. So why does one sleep and the other not?

        • T

          I don’t have a Rift S (or any HMD) but I’ve been researching it because I’m going to probably buy a Rift. I was reading that there is a problem with the springs for the battery compartment on the controller. If you put in new batteries, they can be too heavy and slip out. Try securing the battery/compartment with someone and see if that fixes your tracking problem.

    • E.T. Deubner

      Is that why my batteries keep running out? I thought they might just use more juice. I’ll keep an eye for sure.

    • MAx

      I have the same problem wtih the left controller

  • d0x360

    I have both the Rift with 3 sensors for roomscale and the Rift S powered by a 2080ti ftw3 ultra and after buying the Rift S on launch day and despite my sensors still being setup I haven’t used the CV1 at all.

    Even before the update I didn’t really have issues in Pavlov which is a game I play quite a bit of but after the update everything just feels snapier. They are running some truly complex math for inside out tracking and I’m glad John Carmack is on the team because I think we can all admit when it comes to tech the man is an absolute genius.

    Oh btw here’s a free steam key for Lethal VR.
    If you redeem it please reply to let me know so I don’t go trying to give it to someone else find it redeemed. 4E5D3-CHNJB-80QIA


    • SataNeedSoulsToo

      Thank you, for your sacrifice.

      • d0x360

        lol my pleasure.

  • E.T. Deubner

    I noticed a difference right away after updating. I wasn’t even aware of what the new update/firmware was for and I immediately thought to myself “They did something to improve the controllers”

    • E.T. Deubner

      Although I feel like I’ve noticed a general downgrade in controller tracking ever since switching to the S. I had a 3 sensor set up with my Rift that I had fine tuned perfectly in my opinion. This is the first time I actually feel like the new tracking system might actually be on par with the Rift.

  • I want to try it!

  • Zbyszek

    Can’t wait to try it out on my Quest. I played the Box VR game (really cool) and tracking is an issue there.