Valve's Knuckles EV2 Controller Will Let You Get Touchy Feely In VR

Valve has announced that it has made some major changes to its Knuckles EV 1.3 controller. It has been sending out Knuckles EV 1.3 developer kits to game devs over the past year to test and that it has been listening to the feedback from these devs along the way. The result of that feedback is a brand-new version of the Knuckles EV controller called Knuckles EV2. According to Valve, very little of the EV 1.3 controller was left untouched.

knuckles dual

The EV2 version is still recognizable as Knuckles but has lots of changes:

  • Improved industrial design and ergonomics
  • Updated input set and layout
  • Improved strap fit and feel for more hand sizes
  • New sensors, enabling new interactions
  • Improved battery life, USB-C charging port
  • Added support for SteamVR Tracking 2.0

The updated industrial design is modernized and Valve promises that from an ergonomics perspective it keeps all that made EV 1.3 great while adding improvements. Valve says that it improved tracking and gave more room for larger hands. The handle is sculpted to be more comfortable for a wider range of hands with Valve targeting hands in the 5th to 95th percentile with the design. The strap can be adjusted for different hand sizes and is made of an easier to clean anti-microbial material.

knuckles full

To accommodate all hand sizes the top surface was reconfigured for better access to controls. The top of the strap on the EV2 can be adjusted in four positions around the rim of the input surface. That adjustment range accommodates different thumb lengths and the strap has a semi-rigid plastic insert that conforms to the back of the hand.

One big change is the addition of a thumbstick in Knuckles EV2. The controller also has a Track Button that is a thumb-shaped groove that is a place to rest the thumb but can be a big button when gaming and acts as a track pad. It isn’t a button using a force sensor underneath. Cap Sense allows all the buttons, the track button, and the thumbstick to offer higher fidelity thumb tracking and is available to be used for content. Finger tracking along the grip and trigger is supported and finger tracking is accessed for devs via SteamVR Skeletal input.
knuckles buttons

Knuckles EV2 has force sensors added to the list of inputs that devs can use and the sensors are in the grip "saddle" area and beneath the Track Button. Force sensors have a range of potential inputs including analog, digital, multistep, and they can be disabled. Force sensors can also be used with capacitive sensors to detect a full range of hand positions. Battery life has been improved with Knuckles EV2 controllers offering up to six hours per charge. Charging is via a USB Type-C connector at up to 900 mA and takes about 1.5 hours to charge.