Valve, the video game developer, publisher, and company behind the gaming platform Steam has revealed their Knuckles EV3 Controllers. With the controllers being clasped around the knuckles, VR users won’t have to grasp sweaty hands around hand-held controllers very much longer. The latest version of the dual controllers is said to have full finger tracking and other enhancements.
As they are now, VR controllers do not have full finger tracking. However, they do allow you to pick up virtual objects, use them as weapons and tools. They also allow VR users to wave with an open hand, ball up a fist, and point. The long road to development of the Knuckles Controllers is a pivotal evolution from VR controllers as they exist in current form.
Knuckles EV3 Controllers
Interested developers and testers of the EV2 model are said to be first in line to test the brand new EV3 version. With hundreds of controllers expected to be shipped out soon, it’s looking like pre-release testers are going to experience better sensors, battery life, straps, and triggers to go along with the EV2’s thumbsticks.
The Knuckles EV3 Controllers are being hailed to have better sensor tracking than it’s older models. Trackers that Venture Beat says “led to a two-hour boost, equating to a total of between seven and eight hours of use per charge.” Which means the battery life is made for long or frequent gaming or creation sessions.
The online publication is also reporting that “Valve also improved the triggers for greater reliability, calibrated grip force sensors for consistency across units”. Adding, that the new model will have “recessed both the system button and USB port for ergonomic reasons.”
Moving the button lowers the chance of pressing the wrong button. While the port change was made to make room for to the charging cable. Better grip sensors help improve the Knuckle EV2’s finger tracking for gesture support and other uses.
Launch and Speculation
The Knuckles EV3 Controllers are expected to launch shipping sometime this month with consumer release expected at a much later date. This makes sense, Valve needs to collect testers, get feedback, process it all, and then begin modifying. This may take a while, everyone. But oh will it be worth the wait.
VR hobbyists who are deaf have mentioned online that they wish that VR had finger tracking. Once the Knuckles EV3’s are out, this will become a reality. Venture Beat claims that “Vive users can probably expect to see these in stores early in 2019”. Why Vive and not Oculus? Because of the swipeable pad in the middle? These questions remain unanswered.
Consequently, there is some serious speculation in forums that the Knuckles Controllers will be universal. Which makes sense seeing as Steam is a Vive, Oculus, and Windows Mixed Reality compatible platform. Not making them universal would be a missed opportunity.
There were also some rumors not too long ago that the Vive Pro was going to get a Knuckles Controller with its release, but that didn’t happen. So, the mystery remains and so does our anticipation.