Technology 4 min read

Oculus Connect 6: Day 1 Announcements and Updates

Here are some of the latest updates from this year's Oculus Connect 6 event happening now at San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Facebook is not giving up on virtual reality! In fact, the company made some exciting announcements on the first day of its Oculus Connect 6 event at San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California.

If you’re a VR fan and you failed to tune in yesterday, here are some of the biggest updates revealed at the event.

Quest Updates Unveiled at Occulus Connect 6

As expected, Mark Zuckerberg‘s VR headset pride, the Quest, stole the spotlight during the 1st day of the Occulus Connect 6. The company announced that the highly-anticipated hand tracking feature is coming to Quest.

Meaning, Quest users will soon be able to interact within the virtual world without the need for Oculus Touch controllers.

Yes, you read that right — no more extra hardware, external sensors, gloves, or PC to navigate around Quest’s VR environment — just your hands.

The Facebook-owned company announced that the hand tracking feature would be launched in early 2020 as an experimental feature for Quest users and as an SDK for developers.

How Quest’s Hand Tracking Feature Works

Quest Hand Tracking Feature Revealed at Oculus Connect 6
Quest Hand Tracking Feature Revealed at Oculus Connect 6 | Image courtesy of Facebook AI

Developed by engineers at Facebook Reality Labs and Oculus, the hand tracking feature utilizes Quest’s four cameras together with new deep learning and model-based tracking to achieve larger interaction. Facebook and Oculus researchers explained:

“Deep neural networks are used to predict the location of a person’s hands as well as landmarks, such as joints of the hands. These landmarks are then used to reconstruct a 26 degree-of-freedom pose of the person’s hands and fingers. The result is a 3D model that includes the configuration and surface geometry of the hand. APIs will enable developers to use these 3D models to enable new interaction mechanics in their apps or to drive a user interface.”

Oculus also developed a tracking technology that generates accurate, low-jitter estimates of hand pose across different environments. It’s also equipped with a quantized neural network framework for real-time hand-tracking on a mobile processor “without compromising resources dedicated to user applications.”

Other Quest Updates

Aside from the hand tracking feature, it was also revealed at Oculus Connect 6 that the company’s already working on the next Oculus Quest, focusing on forward compatibility. Oculus aims to make Quest a more dynamic product by releasing more software updates in conjunction with new content released by developers.

This coming November, Occulus is set to release the Oculus Link. It is a new software that will allow Quest and gaming PC owners to access content from the Rift Platform.

The beta version of Oculus Link will be rolled out as an update to the Oculus desktop app, and it will reportedly work with most HQ USB 3 cables. The company also said that it would release a premium optical fiber cable to enhance Rift content access later this year.

Facebook Horizon Announced on Oculus Connect 6

Another highlight from yesterday was the Facebook Horizon, a new social VR world that will come to Oculus Quest and the Rift Platform next year. In a blog post, Oculus said:

“A culmination of what we’ve learned so far about virtual spaces and communities, Horizon is the first step into an ever-expanding world of connection and exploration where anything becomes possible.”

The Horizon has a virtual town square where people can meet and mingle with each other. It is the heart of this VR experience made up of interconnected worlds where Quest users can explore places, play games, build communities, and create their own experiences.

Before stepping into the world of Horizon, users will have to create VR avatars using an array of style and body options provided by the system, allowing everyone to express their individuality.

Horizon is set to be released next year as well.

It was also announced that Oculus would be closing down Facebook Spaces and Oculus Rooms on October 25.

Facebook Spaces allows Quest and HTC Vive users to invite and interact with up to three of their Facebook friends. On the other hand, Oculus Rooms enables Quest users to create virtual Rooms where they can interact with their friends.

Read More: How The Oculus Quest Will Change The VR Game Forever

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Rechelle Ann Fuertes

Rechelle is an SEO content producer, technical writer, researcher, social media manager, and visual artist. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with family and friends.

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