Don’t hold my beer…
We’ve all been there. You’re in the middle of a great VR session and you’re feeling parched from all of the jumping, ducking, arm-swinging you’ve been doing. Or maybe you’re just chillin’ with some friends in AltSpaceVR having a wine social and it’s time to take a sip of that delicious Malbec.
Unfortunately, drinking an IRL beverage in VR can be a little tricky. In most cases, you’ll need to put down the controllers and then lift your headset off your eyes, or just enough to peek under your headset, in order to bring the cup to your mouth. Using a straw simplifies the process, though you still need to put down your controllers or reach awkwardly outside your play space in order to reach your beverage.
Bogie Inc. wants to make the process easier. According to a recently filed patent, the company is, or was, working on a new system that would allow a user to take a sip of their delicious beverage without having to put down both of their controllers.
First spotted by Game Rant, the patent, which is filed under “video game accessories” and “card/board games”, shows a device that looks a lot like a Quest VR controller, but with a built-in holder attached to the inner part of the controller that could support any type of beverage that comes in a bottle or can. The design would also be able to hold a small water bottle.
This design may not resolve having to lift off your headset to have a drink (passthrough technology will probably fix that), but it would eliminate having to put down both of your controllers in order to have a drink. Is it silly? Yes. Could it serve a practical use-case?.. Maybe?
Obviously the device would serve little to no purpose if you were playing a game or app with fast hand movements, unless maybe you were drinking a non-carbonated beverage from a closed container. That said it could prove useful in social VR settings such as virtual mixers in Altspace VR or events in VRChat where people are holding virtual beverages.
Of course as hand-tracking and passthrough technology improves, this type of physical hardware would most-likely become unnecessary. Hand-tracking just isn’t for VR games or apps. It could help us interact with the real-world while in VR. In the past year, Meta has worked heavily with developers to create a much improved hand-tracking experience with their SDK in hopes of streamlining how people access metaverse experiences.
The Quest store currently has a number of experiences that use hand-tracking, such as Hand Physics Lab, Elixir, Cubism, and Unplugged, to name a few.
At the same time, HTC has also released their hand-tracking SDK for developers which offers hand position, gesture tracking, and 21 point finger tracking. The SDK is available for the following VR HMDs: Vive, VIVE Pro, Vive Pro Eye, VIVE Pro 2, VIVE Cosmos, VIVE Cosmos XR, VIVE Focus Plus, VIVE Focus, and Valve Index.
Hand-tracking technology is improving, but it’s just not there yet. So in the meantime, Bogie Inc’s re-imagined VR controller with a built-in cup holder could be exactly what we need until we do get there. But does this mean we will see VR controller-shaped drink koozies? I mean, we just saw a VR controller with weights, so I hope so!