Samsung made headlines when the company released a blog post stating Rink, a wireless motion-sensing controller for the Gear VR, would be shown at CES. Having just enjoyed a demo of the technology, it may be time to put some breaks on the hype that some are assuming will be the official controller of the Gear VR.
The Creative Lab is Samsung's in-house incubator for new ideas and experiments and, after seeing the technology in person, it's very clear that rink is very much an experiment and not a product that's anywhere close to reality. Even the video demo released of the technology shows a rather twitchy experience.
The design of the system is rather clever; you have the sensor at the top of the Gear VR providing the tracking for the controllers in 3D, and what seems to be a row of proximity sensors on the u-shaped controllers themselves tracking your fingers, but in practice the movement was very rough and not very precise.
During the gameplay portion of the demo, where I was asked to open and close my hand to fire Iron Man-style shots at enemies, the tracking for one of the hands dropped out entirely and the whole system crashed.
Even before that rather sudden end to my hands-on demo of the hardware, it was clear that this was very much an interesting concept that may or may not get some resources thrown at it. But right now there are just a few engineers seeing if the idea will go anywhere. Rink is a neat idea, but right now that's all it is.