So, the consumer model of the Oculus Rift is coming.
We know that because Oculus VR, the company that makes Rift, unveiled the new headset while at an event in San Francisco on 12 June. But during the show, it introduced something else that's new: Oculus Touch.
Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus Rift, even waved Oculus Touch around on stage, and he threw around phrases like "lightweight" and "communicative gestures" while showing it off, stressing that it's designed to detect natural hand poses, like pointing or a thumbs up.
If you're confused about what it is or what it can do, have no fear. We've explained everything you need to know below, including details on how it works (and what the term "Half Moon" means).
What is Oculus Rift?
The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset developed by Oculus VR. It debuted on Kickstarted over three years ago, but the latest version of the headset, which is still called Oculus Rift, will be the first model that consumers can purchase.
It features two AMOLED displays with low persistence and high visual clarity. It also has an IR LED constellation tracking system, integrated audio with removable built-in headphones, an ergonomic and lightweight design, and much more.
Does Oculus Rift have any new VR inputs?
The consumer model of the Oculus Rift is expected to hit retail in early 2016. It'll ship with a wireless Xbox One controller as a VR input device for gaming and navigating content, such as Lucky’s Tale, EVE: Valkyrie, and other titles.
Oculus VR said it's noticed VR input evolving and coming in different forms over the years. The Xbox One controller, for instance, is a type of input that gamers can use to reach out and interact with objects in different virtual reality games.
What is Oculus Touch?
Oculus Touch is a new VR input device that Oculus VR unveiled alongside the consumer model Oculus Rift. It's actually a pair of tracked controllers designed to deliver a "hand presence", which is something that Oculus VR has described as "the sensation of feeling as though your virtual hands are actually your own".
So, Oculus Touch is supposed to make it feel as though you're using your own hands - rather than a gamepad like the Xbox One controller - in a virtual reality environment. Oculus VR claimed this type of input will let people take their virtual reality experiences "further than ever before by unlocking new interactions".
How does Oculus Touch work?
Oculus VR showed off a "feature prototype" for Oculus Touch called Half Moon. It consists of two controllers, and you use one controller in each hand. The controllers boast a traditional analog thumbstick, two buttons, and an analog trigger. There’s also a mechanism - called hand trigger - that replicates the feeling of firing a gun.
These Half Moon prototypes are wireless and use the same IR LED constellation tracking system found in the new Rift for precise, low-latency, position tracking. They also include haptic feedback, which game developers will be able to leverage in order to let gamers interact with objects in virtual gaming worlds.
The last key feature in Half Moon is a matrix of sensors mounted throughout the device. They let the controller recognise a set of communicative hand poses, such as pointing, waving, or even a thumbs-up.
When will Oculus Touch be available?
Oculus Touch will begin shipping to gamers and developers in the first half of 2016. (Oculus VR said it will be available for pre-order at the same time as the new Rift.)
Want to know more?
Pocket-lint got some eyes-on time with the Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch. You can check that out here.