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Technology Oculus Quest now works without controllers, sometimes

20:35  09 december  2019
20:35  09 december  2019 Source:   cnet.com

Oculus' new Link software brings Rift content to Quest headsets

  Oculus' new Link software brings Rift content to Quest headsets We've described the Oculus Quest as the best standalone wireless VR headset yet, but there was one feature missing from the system: the ability to plug the headset into a PC. That feature is coming, with the Oculus Link software which is launching today in beta. With Oculus Link, Quest owners can access the entire library of Rift PC games via a USB-C cable. We tried out the Link feature at Oculus Connect 6 and were impressed by the simplicity of the setup: you just plug in the Quest and the Oculus Desktop software recognizes both the headset and the controllers.

Facebook's Oculus Quest VR headset keeps getting new features. Last month, it added USB-C PC tethering for running more powerful Oculus Rift apps. Now, it can work without controllers, using the headset's external cameras to track your finger motion and hand movement.

a man holding a phone: Ditch those controllers (for some apps, at least). James Martin/CNET© Provided by CNET Ditch those controllers (for some apps, at least). James Martin/CNET

Earlier this fall, hand tracking was unveiled as a feature coming in early 2020. It's part of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's plans to explore the possibilities of augmented reality through existing VR hardware like Quest. The software update, available this week, arrives much earlier than expected, but it's also an experimental feature and needs to be turned on in settings.

Oculus Link arrives in beta: the Quest can now be your PC VR gaming headset

  Oculus Link arrives in beta: the Quest can now be your PC VR gaming headset One USB-C cable can turn Facebook's standalone VR headset into a PC rigOculus Link on Oculus Quest: a USB-C cable (seen here) can connect to a PC and play high-end VR games.

Hand tracking will work for the main OS, and for core apps like Facebook's web browser and Oculus TV. Imagine using your hands like remote controls and you've got the idea. It's not much yet, but certainly worth trying. An SDK for developers will come on Dec. 16 and allow hand-tracking support in apps after that, most likely towards 2020. But it's possible that hand-tracking updates in games and apps could roll out even earlier.

a man holding a phone© James Martin/CNET
a man sitting in front of a mirror posing for the camera© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.
How Oculus VR is ditching controllers for your hands

My early experience with hand tracking on the Oculus Quest back in October was shockingly good. It feels similar to what Microsoft's HoloLens 2 can do, but on a far less expensive headset. Hand tracking has its limits, though: The lack of vibration feedback or physical controls won't make it ideal for all games and apps. But it potentially makes what's already an Editors' Choice VR headset into an even better device.

Hand tracking is a VR and AR trend that you can expect to grow, especially with Qualcomm's next-generation VR and AR chips promising improved hand and face tracking in headsets next year.

Oculus is rolling out its expanded social VR features .
Along with Quest hand tracking, one of Facebook's big announcements at Oculus Connect 6 in September was a batch of social VR features. You'll get to try them over the coming days, as Oculus is starting to roll them out. They include messaging with your Oculus pals, along with photo and video sharing and livestreaming to Facebook. You can create events to set up a time to play games with your buddies or arrange meetups, and form parties that all your Oculus friends can join (parties were invite-only until now). Your Facebook friends will also be able to group up with you in VR when you send them links via Messenger.

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