Valve recently showed off prototypes of its handheld controllers at its ongoing Steam Dev Days conference in Seattle, designed for use with the VR headsets, and they look pretty interesting indeed. The company is sharing details of upcoming hardware in typically low-key fashion. While there are not any official announcements yet, attendees have been posting about new VR controller prototypes that go far beyond what the current wand-style Vive solution can do.
It’s unclear as to how this will work, but it has since led to the speculation that Valve could be working on some kind of wrist-mounted controller which we guess makes sense. This controller mounted on the wrist could allow users to pick up and drop objects in VR like they’d in real life. As it stands, the controllers for the VR require users to hold the controller in their hand which means that the interaction will come by way of gestures and button pressing, which we guess works but is not quite the same. The prototypes are covered in sensors that are presumably of the same type that work with the current Vive’s lighthouse tracking sys, and there are also some colored lights of unknown function.
Right now gripping virtual objects with HTC Vive controllers is awkward, along with grip buttons on the side that are hard to reach and do not make much sense since you’re already grasping the controller. Letting developers try out this unnamed hardware prototype likely provides Valve valuable feedback they can use hone in on even more immersive controllers that are better adapted to grasping and gripping objects.
It’ll be interesting to see where the company goes with these, and how the controllers will help to make for a more immersive VR experience. Valve has not announced any release dates and it is not clear when we will see more of its controllers – but we’re certainly going to keep an ear to the ground.