Quest 2’s new Hand Tracking 2.0 mode brings some dramatic improvements to using your hands without controllers.
Meta says its 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”.
The new mode can apparently handle your hands moving quickly, one hand covering the other, and even your hands touching – scenarios which previously caused the tracking to break. This should make Hand Tracking much more practical to use, and enable new actions like clapping and counting on fingers.
This is actually the second time Quest 2 has seen an upgrade to tracking high speed hand movement. High Frequency mode, released last year, doubles the sampling rate of hand tracking to handle faster movements and reduce latency.
Like High Frequency mode, Hand Tracking 2.0 is an optional developer side upgrade. In the near term you’ll need to wait for apps to release updates to support it to see any of these improvements. However, later this year Hand Tracking 2.0 will become the default.
That earlier High Frequency mode had some tradeoffs; it slightly increased hand jitter and capped the maximum CPU and GPU clock speed available to apps. Meta’s press release doesn’t mention whether Hand Tracking 2.0 has any tradeoffs nor how it relates to the earlier High Frequency mode — we’ve reached out to Meta for clarification and will update this article when we get a response.
We haven’t yet tried Hand Tracking 2.0, but here’s what the developers who had early access to it say, via Meta:
“Previously, Cubism’s hand tracking relied on smoothing the hand data input to produce a stable input method. Furthermore, players needed to be taught not to cross their hands since this negatively affected tracking. This is all improved with the latest hand tracking – which is consistent enough for me to turn off hand smoothing by default.” – Cubism developer Thomas Van Bouwel
“This update to hand tracking is a big step forward for natural and intuitive interactions with hands. With this big improvement, we hope more people will discover what hand tracking has to offer to immersive experiences.” – Hand Physics Lab
“Our workouts require a lot of quick punches to be thrown, and it’s imperative for hand-tracking to keep up with the rigorous pace. We’re really happy with this latest update and excited about the overall direction hand-tracking is headed on the Quest platform.” – Liteboxer
“Even though we managed to achieve very solid and accurate gameplay using the older version of hand tracking, we had to put some limitations on our gameplay. This needed to be done in order to provide a smooth experience that’s not interrupted by any issues that such a new technology might has from time to time. With the latest update, hand tracking is so accurate and responsive that we could include all the perks we couldn’t before: fast changes of finger positions, plus an increased -and more realistic number of notes that makes the songs feel way more authentic.” – Unplugged: Air Guitar
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