Through this initiative PC VR headsets will now also support controller-free hand tracking.
The open source Monado platform for OpenXR just included hand tracking. For standalone headsets like Quest, Pico 4, and Vive XR Elite, hand tracking is a built-in capability, but it isn’t presently natively available on SteamVR outside of 3rd party add-ons like Ultraleap.
The new feature features “degraded quality” compatibility for Oculus Rift S and WMR headsets like the HP Reverb G2, although this should be resolved “soon.” It also fully supports Valve Index.
The company behind Monado, Collabora, asserts that the functionality can monitor quick hand motions and may be applied to drawing, typing, and UI interaction in specialised apps. Although “minimal” support is provided for hand-over-hand interactions, it is primarily designed to be used with your hands apart. In Linux, Monado further supports inside-out headset positional tracking, enabling the usage of Valve Index without base stations.
Unsurprisingly, Windows, not Linux, is the operating system used by practically all PC VR owners. A Windows SteamVR driver for Collabora’s hand tracking technology is expected “in the coming weeks,” along with enhancements to stability and jitter. Nevertheless, there are no known plans for Windows to receive the headset positional tracking.
Whether the driver will gain enough traction to persuade creators of games that enable hand tracking on standalone headsets to also support it on PC is another big concern. Nonetheless, for specialised applications, this could still be a highly valuable feature.