Unity’s New XR Hands Package Adds Hand Tracking Via OpenXR

Unity’s new package lets developers add hand tracking without using headset-specific SDKs.

Previously, adding support for controller-free hand tracking on Quest required importing the Oculus Integration. That integration also adds a range of other Quest-specific features as well as prefabs and samples. But while the Oculus Integration is OpenXR-based, its hand tracking uses a proprietary extension and a non-standard hand joint bone arrangement.

The XR Hands package, currently in preview, supports hand tracking via Unity’s standard XR subsystem and OpenXR. That means it works with other standard systems like the XR Interaction Toolkit. XR Hands already works with Quest and HoloLens, and Unity plans to add support for other OpenXR headsets with hand tracking.

Note as well – you’ll probably need to manually update to OpenXR 1.6.0 in your manifest, and once all is active, be sure to activate necessary extensions in the OpenXR menu. pic.twitter.com/FRFn5sdkAO

— Eric Provencher (@prvncher) January 11, 2023

Since the package is currently in prerelease, you’ll need to manually add it to your project’s manifest. Unity’s Eric Provencher suggests you should also manually update to OpenXR 1.6.0 in your app’s manifest, and activate the hand tracking extensions in the OpenXR menu (see the screenshot above).

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