HTC Improves Hand Tracking On The VIVE Focus 3

A new firmware update introduces six predefined hand gestures and opens up quality-of-life opportunities.

The HTC VIVE Focus 3 is an impressive VR headset with its dual 2.88” LCD panels, Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor, magnetic gasket, and easy-to-access swappable battery. 

One of the VIVE Focus 3’s most exciting features is the AI-powered hand-tracking. Thanks to a recent firmware update, the hand-tracking experience has been improved even further, offering better stability, performance, and accuracy while in VR. The headset tracks your hands in real-time using a 26-point skeletal hand modeling system; even super-fast hand movements can be tracked with a high level of accuracy.

Image Credit: HTC

Along with improved stability and performance, developers can now easily integrate six predefined hand gestures into their experiences. “Point”, “Fist”, “Ok”, “Like”, “Five” (all fingers straight), and “Victory”, with the possibility of more gestures being included in the near future.

These gestures can be used in a variety of VR experiences. Because the hand tracking engine is OpenXR compliant and highly resource-efficient, it opens up more hand movement possibilities for developers. 

The first thing you’ll notice after upgrading is that your hands feel more natural and reliable in VR. Thanks to the aforementioned hand modeling system, you’re able to wiggle and snap your fingers as you would in real life, whether you’re grabbing a virtual object or pushing a virtual button.

Image Credit: HTC

To get started all you need to do is set aside your Focus 3 controllers and hold your hands up in front of you while in VR. The outside sensors will automatically locate your hands and begin tracking your movements and gestures.

There are still some limitations you should be aware of when using hand tracking on the VIVE Focus 3. You’ll want to avoid complicated backgrounds as well as low or unbalanced lighting conditions in the camera frame. You’ll also want to make sure to roll up your sleeves and ensure your wrists are visible to the four onboard cameras and avoid any awkward side views.

Another thing to keep in mind is that hand tracking quality will depend heavily on the platform, VR headset, and mode. For example, more complicated experiences may result in less reliable hand tracking.  

The improved hand tracking experience will allow you to navigate VR environments in a way that feels much more intuitive, and will be a big step in making VR more accessible for users as they explore the possibilities of the metaverse. It also opens up quality-of-life opportunities to explore VR for people dealing with physical disabilities that prevent them from interacting with VR in a more conventional manner.

For more information on HTC VIVE’s hand tracking engine, hop on over to the HTC developers hub

Feature Image Credit: HTC

About the Scout

Bobby Carlton

Hello, my name is Bobby Carlton. When I'm not exploring the world of immersive technology, I'm writing rock songs about lost love. I'd also like to mention that I can do 25 push-ups in a row.

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