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Mark Zuckerberg demos finger-tracking Oculus gloves

"You can draw, type on a virtual keyboard, and even shoot webs like Spider Man."
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In a bid to keep folks excited about its Oculus virtual reality products, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed off a bunch of new tech at the Oculus Research facility in Redmond, Washington. The most interesting prototype was a new set of gloves (above) that can "bring your hands into virtual and augmented reality," he wrote on a Facebook post. They could address one of the biggest user complaints about the Rift VR headset: the inability to easily interact with objects in virtual reality.

"We're working on new ways to bring your hands in virtual and augmented reality," said Zuckerberg. "Wearing these gloves, you can draw, type on a virtual keyboard, and even shoot webs like Spider Man. That's what I'm doing here."

As TechCrunch points out, the gloves appear to be equipped with trackers on the fingers that are scanned by OptiTrack Prime 17W motion capture cameras. For a commercial product with a similar system, Oculus would have to develop its own cameras, since the 17W currently runs about $3,500 per unit.

The tech resembles the Pebbles Interfaces system that Oculus purchased in 2015. There are other ways to do finger tracking, though -- Microsoft's Kinect can track your hands with just a single camera, for instance, and the Dexmo gloves do it via mechanical means. Developing reliable, easy-to-use gloves will be a big step in VR, opening up gaming, entertainment and other applications.

The Oculus team is also looking at "advanced optics, eye tracking, mixed reality and new ways to map the human body," Zuckerberg said. The lab's aim is to shrink the size of the tech and "let you interact with the virtual world," he adds, giving you the true feeling that you're in another world.

Steve should have known that civil engineering was not for him when he spent most of his time at university monkeying with his 8086 clone PC. Although he graduated, a lifelong obsession of wanting the Solitaire win animation to go faster had begun. Always seeking a gadget fix, he dabbles in photography, video, 3D animation and is a licensed private pilot. He followed l'amour de sa vie from Vancouver, BC, to France and now lives in Paris.

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