In April 2022, Meta released Hand Tracking 2.0, the upgraded system that can detect things like high fives and claps, but the company is now making 2.0 the default hand tracking technology for Quest apps, according to a Friday blog post. Meta announced in September that it would be deprecating 1.0 in April 2023, and it says the move to 2.0 as the default is a “first step” toward that deprecation.
“Updating to Hand Tracking 2.0 requires no developer action, and we believe this change will improve the quality and capabilities of hand tracking across our app ecosystem,” Meta wrote in the post. “Hand Tracking 2.0 allows you to take full advantage of the many hands-driven interactions available with the Interaction SDK.”
Meta first launched hand tracking on the Quest in December 2019, but the 2.0 update, in addition to tracking high fives and claps, improved how the system detected movement if parts of your hands were blocked from the headset’s built-in cameras . 2.0 isn’t actually Meta’s latest hand-tracking technology; it launched Hand Tracking 2.1, which can better track fast movements and more accurately predict future hand positions, with Quest’s v47 OS update in November. You can read about some of those improvements in Meta’s blog.
Hand-tracking could become a competitive battlefield for VR headsets pretty quickly, especially if Apple’s rumored VR/AR device includes some of the hand-tracking features described by from Bloomberg Mark Gurman in a comprehensive report Monday. Apple’s headset apparently lets you use a squeeze to “activate” a button or an app icon, for example, which could mean the device doesn’t need controllers. (Meta’s Quest software also has pinch features.) And Apple is working on a way to let users “type in the air with their hands,” Gurman reports, which seems like a bad way for me to write my next article, but potentially useful for things like short searches or texts.