During Meta’s Connect conference in October 2021, the company talked about its Presence Platform and the SDKs (Insight, Interaction, Voice) being made available to virtual reality (VR) developers. Continuing to build towards evermore immersive experiences, today, it has released a major upgrade to Meta Quest’s Hand Tracking capabilities for creators to make use of.
Meta has upgraded the Hand Tracking API to improve performance, tracking and gesture expression and recognition. As you can see from the imagery and videos below, this enables the Meta Quest to detect fast and overlapping hand movements rather than the occluded hand fading out. Thus opening up a whole new range of gestures such as clapping or passing an item from one hand to the other.
These are physically very basic, very natural interactions, therefore adding a touch more presence to videogames and metaverse experiences. Additionally, the update improves familiar hand tracking actions like pinch, grab, and poke recognition, making these far more seamless and less prone to incorrect gestures.
“In the metaverse, your hands will move as naturally as they do in the physical world. Our Presence Platform’s hand tracking tech keeps improving to support more gestures, tracking continuity, and fast movement. Developers can now integrate more responsive hands into apps. For example, the guitar app Unplugged will support faster riffs and more notes to make playing in virtual reality more realistic,” says Mark Zuckerberg in a blog post.
“This update to hand tracking is a big step forward in tracking quality and makes playing Cubism with hands feel a lot more stable and consistent. Previously, Cubism’s hand tracking relied on smoothing the hand data input to produce a stable input method,” says Cubism’s Thomas Van Bouwel. “Furthermore, players needed to be taught not to cross their hands since this negatively affected tracking. This is all improved with the latest hand tracking—which is consistent enough for me to turn off hand smoothing by default.”
There’s nothing Meta Quest users need to do regarding the Hand Tracking 2.0 upgrade, it’s all handled developer side, they simply need to “opt-in” to utilise the new functions. Developers of apps that already utilise hand-tracking like Cubism, Unplugged, Hand Physics Lab, and LiteBoxer got an early look.
From the look of it, Meta’s Hand Tracking 2.0 brings it closer in line to Ultraleap’s fifth-generation Gemini software which also improved upon the company’s occlusion tracking.
As further enhancements are made to Meta Quest’s software, gmw3 will keep you updated.