Quest Pro‘s controllers have major new features.
In the Connect 2022 main keynote Meta talked at length about the new Touch Pro controllers being self-tracking, and vaguely described “new localized and VCM haptics upgrades”.
But in a talk for developers the company went into much more detail, explaining the significantly improved haptic feedback and revealing new features like index finger tracking, thumb rest force sensing, and more:
The “localized” haptics refers to the fact each controller has 3 separate haptic motors: a voice coil modulator (VCM) in the handle, and linear resonant actuators (LRAs) on the index finger and thumb grip. The level of haptic fidelity this delivers blew me away in my hands-on time with Quest Pro. It felt like the sense of touch was coming from the exact part of the virtual object I grabbed.
Meta says the VCM in the handle enables “the most complex and realistic haptic effects we’ve ever had via their ability to play audio like PCM data”.
A new feature not mentioned at all in the keynote is index finger tracking. The new trigger has a sensor that can track the “curl” and “slide” of your index finger. The curl is the distance of the finger from the trigger, while the slide represents where along the trigger’s surface your finger is touching.
It’s unclear if the slide detection is one-dimensional or two-dimensional. It could enable new interactions such as scrolling a wheel on a held object, as well as new social gestures.
The curved thumb grip on the controller has a pressure sensor that can sense up to 6 newtons of force. Meta says when combined with input from the index trigger this enables a “precision pinch grip” interaction and the ability to squeeze objects held between your thumb and finger.
Developers can implement these use cases manually at launch, and an API will be released in the future to calculate the pinch amount and pinch pressure.
There’s another force sensor in the base of the controller which can sense up to 2 newtons of force. This enables accurate contact point detection with real-world surfaces, so you can use the base of the controller like a marker or pen for writing on tables or walls.
Finally, Quest Pro will support controllers and hands tracking at the same time in a future update. This could enable using one hand and one controller simultaneously, which could be useful for games like table tennis and golf.
Touch Pro are included in the Quest Pro box, but can also be bought separately for $300 later this year to be used with Quest 2.