Facebook’s Zuckerberg Demos Oculus Gloves For Typing And Interacting In Virtual Reality

Ocululs Gloves

Waving around motion controllers is cool and all, but for virtual reality to offer an deeper level of immersion, recognizing hand and finger movements would go a long way. That seems to the be the direction Oculus is headed. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a handful of pictures taken from the Oculus Research lab in Redmond, Washington, and one of them showed the billionaire whiz kid sporting a pair of prototype gloves.

"We're working on new ways to bring your hands in virtual and augmented reality. Wearing these gloves, you can draw, type on a virtual keyboard, and even shoot webs like Spider Man. That's what I'm doing here," Zuckerberg explains.

I just visited our Oculus Research lab in Redmond, Washington where some of the best scientists and engineers in the...

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, February 9, 2017
The photo (shown at top) shows Zuckerberg donning an Oculus Rift headset and a pair of white gloves. With his palm facing upward, his wrist is bent down with his index finger, pinky, and thumb extended outward. It's the same motion Spider Man makes when spraying his gooey web on a thug or object. Being able to replicate that in VR with the same motion the super hero makes would definitely feel more realistic than waving a motion controller and pressing a button.

Unfortunately Zuckerberg didn't post any information about the underlying technology, though it is worth mentioning that Oculus in 2015 acquired Pebbles Interfaces, a VR hand-tracking startup based in Israel.

"Pebbles Interfaces has spent the past five years developing technology that uses custom optics, sensor systems and algorithms to detect and track hand movement. Over time, technology breakthroughs in sensors will unlock new human interaction methods in VR and revolutionize the way people communicate in virtual worlds," Oculus said at the time.

In the photo Zuckerberg posted, there are special cameras placed on both sides and above him. They're aimed at the gloves he is wearing and are likely responsible for tracking movement. If and when Oculus decides to implement this kind of hand tracking into the Rift, we imagine it would be integrated rather than require more hardware. Either way, we're hoping this technology comes to fruition on the consumer side.