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Oculus Quest gets hand tracking this week

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Product photo of the Oculus Quest VR headset with glowing lenses Image: Oculus

Owners of the Oculus Quest virtual reality headset — the stand-alone hardware that we called “the best value in VR currently on the market” — are getting hand-tracking support this week, Oculus announced on Monday. Hand tracking will let Quest owners navigate and control apps using only their hands, without the need for controllers, and the initial rollout will be limited.

Oculus calls hand-tracking support on Quest “an early consumer feature” that will be rolled out to developers next week.

“In this initial release, you can use your hands to navigate and interact within Quest’s Home interfaces like Library and Store, plus in select first-party apps like the Oculus Browser and Oculus TV,” the company said. “You can even set your floor height for a stationary Guardian boundary using your hands—no controller necessary. ... And this is just the beginning. We’ll continue to add new features and functionality to improve the experience of hand tracking on Quest in 2020.”

Starting next week, developers will have the option to build “controller-free hand interactions in Quest apps for the first time,” Oculus says. The company tempers expectations about proposed support — “from more expressive gestures in social apps to more efficient workflows in business training modules, and more,” Oculus says — and expects the first batch of third-party apps to arrive in 2020.

Oculus announced the Quest’s hand-tracking controls and support for Rift games on Quest (via the Oculus Link cable) at its annual Connect conference in September.

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