Quest 2 controller-free hand tracking just got another significant quality update.
Hand Tracking 2.0 arrived on Quest 2 and the original Quest last year, bringing dramatic improvements to using your hands without controllers. Meta said its researchers and engineers “developed a new method of applying deep learning to better understand hand poses when the device’s cameras can’t see the full hand or when the hand is moving quickly”, describing the result as “a step-function improvement in tracking continuity”.
In ideal lighting conditions 2.0 can handle your hands moving quickly, one hand covering the other, and even your hands touching – scenarios that previously caused the tracking to temporarily break. It made Hand Tracking much more practical to use and enabled new actions like clapping and counting on fingers. It’s an opt-in developer side upgrade, because some older apps used developer-crafted hand tracking quality filtering algorithms to deal with the issues 1.0 had. But almost all hand tracking games including Cubism, Unplugged: Air Guitar, and Hand Physics Lab support it.
Now Meta has released Hand Tracking 2.1 alongside v47 of the Quest’s system software and providing an automatic upgrade path from the 2.0 version with “changes across our entire tracking stack, which further improve tracking reliability”.
Tracking loss has been reduced in 2.1, meaning your hands should disappear temporarily less often. And the reacquisition time has been sped up, so if the system does lose track of a hand it should re-appear sooner.
Additionally, 2.1 adds a new neural network to improve the accuracy of prediction. Meta claims this delivers “less overshooting and smoother hand poses”, especially for fast motions. All VR tracking systems use prediction to account for your head and hands moving slightly between the time each frame starts rendering and it actually being displayed.
Finally, 2.1 improves the reliability of the pinch gesture used across the Quest system interface, which Meta claims reduces false detections.
This article originally published on October 13, 2022. It was updated and republished with release of the 2.1 hand tracking update.
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