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Eye and Hand Tracking in VR: We’re Going to Be Seeing More Of It!

December 16, 2022

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Hand and eye tracking in VR is a very hot topic right now. But why? It has the potential to make VR experiences more immersive, more realistic and more intuitive. You can read everything about how it works, how it’s implemented into VR headsets and what this means for the future of VR below.

Hand and eye tracking in VR is an exciting technology that enables users to immerse themselves further into a virtual environment. It works by recognizing where a VR headset user is looking and what their hands are doing, allowing gestures and looks to be used for interaction instead of controllers. The result is a much more captivating experience that makes one feel like they’re truly present in the world of virtual reality.  

Let’s talk about hand tracking

The main problem with current VR controllers is that they tend to break the feeling of immersion in virtual reality. You need a controller to interact with objects in virtual reality, but it doesn’t feel as natural as interacting with real-world objects. That’s because you’re still holding a device in your hand, not grasping an object.

By using VR headsets that feature sophisticated sensors, hand tracking technology can detect subtle finger movements and gestures, allowing users to manipulate app elements, select options, and control their environment almost seamlessly. In short, hand tracking technology helps VR users feel even more immersed in the experience – delivering an incredibly tactile VR experience like never before!

So, what is eye tracking?

Eye tracking in virtual reality is an exciting new technology that accurately tracks the user’s gaze. The latest VR headsets are experimenting with technology and are equipped with cameras that can detect facial features and determine where a person is looking. With eye tracking, VR apps will be able to respond to the motion of the eyes and bring a greater sense of immersion into virtual environments.  

There are two main implications for this, one, creating more life-like experiences and two, working towards more compact headsets. By taking advantage of how our eyes naturally focus, eye tracking enables a process known as “foveated rendering”, which brings into focus the elements on the screen that the user is looking at whilst leaving the peripherals of vision slightly blurred. This mimics our real-world experience, allowing for the creation of even more life-like experiences.

Foveated rendering also impacts image processing of VR headsets by reducing computational drain. This helps to save battery life and opens the potential to create smaller, more compact VR headsets in the future.  

What it means for the future of VR

VR technology has grown at a rapid pace over the last few years, making virtual reality more and more accessible. With hand and eye tracking, VR users now have an additional way of immersing themselves in their environment. It allows VR environments to interact with us in real-time without the extra layer of technology needed to bridge the gap between the virtual and physical worlds. Hand and eye tracking offers an unrivaled level of realism, allowing vendors in the VR space to create unique experiences that are both engaging and meaningful. In essence, it can take VR to that all-important next level!

Haven’t experienced VR? Try our app on your Oculus Headset by downloading from the Oculus store.