Unparalleled Precision, 21 degrees of freedom, haptic feedback, modular hardware, and only $249… Plexus developer kits are available for pre-order, and shipping August 2018.
The promise of virtual hands, allowing a player to interact using their real digits in a digital environment is an idea that’s had tech-heads trembling with excitement for decades. The Plexus VR developer kits are by no means the fully tracked and articulate controllers we all want them to be, though they are certainly making leaps and bounds towards getting us there, and at a price that any virtual reality hobbyist can get into.
The core design feature that allows Plexus to reach such a low price point is the method of tracking the product uses. By attaching existing tracked devices, such as the HTC Vive Wands or Puck, or the Oculus Touch controllers, the Plexus can ship without any need for integrated tracking systems.
The addition of third-party tracking future proofs Plexus, allowing owners to simply adapt the device to function with newer tracking technologies.
When looking at the tracking of the digits themselves, Plexus claims to have a 0.01 degree of precision, a bold claim that will certainly be put under scrutiny by dev kit recipients.
Picture by VRScout.com
Boasting a whopping 21 degrees of freedom, existing controllers offer 6 degrees of freedom, so it will be interesting to see what engines will support the controller natively, as it will be among few devices pushing such boundaries.
One of the most interesting additions is the simple placement of a single haptic feedback point on the tip of each digit, allowing for a basic physical sensation upon interacting with a digital object, these can have massive impacts on the presence a player feels in a virtual environment, both good and bad depending on their implementation.
The full specs sheet includes;
- Measurement System: 21 Degrees of freedom per hand
- Tactile Feedback: 5 (one per finger) tactile actuators
- Wireless: 2.4GHz Custom Low Latency Protocol
- Compatibility: Unity, Unreal Engine, C++, C#, Python
- SDK: Unity and Unreal Engine haptic rapid application development toolkit, including drop in haptic hand rigs and interactive objects ready to use with developer artwork assets
- Compatibility: VR Integration / tracking options: Vive, Oculus Rift, Windows Mixed Reality. Can be used with any Windows, Linux or Mac environment through the C++ and Python API
- Battery life: 2 to 3 hours depending on feedback usage
- Refresh rate: 180hz, engine synchronized for VR
With an impressive list of features, a low cost of entry, and an unbeatable promise, we’ll be keeping a close eye on Plexus as the kits roll out this August.