HTC has released an SDK that allows developers to add finger tracking to their Vive or Vive Pro apps. For the stand-alone headset, the Vive Focus SDK provides hand recognition and gestures.
For the first time this feature was announced back in October. At the time, HTC seemed like it would not be available for the usual Vive, but, fortunately, they managed to introduce functionality into it. However, Pro provides better tracking quality thanks to its dual cameras.
The software tracks 21 points on hand up to 30 FPS on a PC. On the Vive Focus, hand position tracking is performed at 17 FPS. Since tracking is performed on the GPU, it should not affect the performance of the processor.
Vive Focus, apparently, does not have enough computing power to track fingers. Instead, it simply tracks the position of the hand, rather than each finger. However, gesture recognition is available. He can recognize the difference between a gesture pointing to something, a fist, an OK sign, and a thumbs pointing upwards.
The SDK is available as a free plugin for Unity or Unreal Engine. There is also a C and C ++ API. It is not limited to Viveport, so developers can use it in Steam applications.
Since tracking uses conventional cameras on headsets, rather than a depth sensor, HTC recommends using a simple background. The lighting should be bright enough for your hands to be visible, but not so bright as to be blind. To make things easier, HTC specifically suggests “roll up your sleeves and make sure that the wrist is visible.”
In non-interactive VR experiences and social applications, VR controllers are often felt more like a chore rather than an auxiliary tool. The ability to enter into these experiences, simply putting on a headset and seeing your real hands, will be a welcome improvement for many users.
Corporate customers who use VR for tasks such as rendering architecture often completely abandon controllers due to discomfort. Game controllers are simply much less attractive to non-gamers than the visual representation of hands.
In social VR, the ability to freely gesticulate with your real hands adds immersion and increases social presence. We spent a lot of time on platforms like AltSpaceVR – Leap Motion certainly remains the best preferred input method. VRcue will hope that these applications will soon integrate the new HTC SDK.