Manus VR, the Dutch startup founded in 2014, released new details about the design of its peripheral glove along with information about its first developer kit on Thursday.
Manus VR gloves act as controllers, allowing the user to go hands-free, in a sense. The peripheral gloves are made of "high-tech textiles" that are equipped with electronics inside with various inputs that have a 9 degree of freedom IMU, with each finger featuring two sensors that bend. Inertial measurement units, IMUs, are electronic devices that measure specific force and work as orientation sensors. Interestingly enough, the gloves are actually washable. The Manus VR gloves allow the player to use their natural hand and finger motions while in immersive experiences, and offer haptic feedback via a programmable vibration motor.
The gloves can connect with a USB dongle or via Bluetooth, and are expected to last up to eight hours on a charge. They feature rechargeable batteries.
The company announced that the Manus VR gloves are compatible with the HTC Vive headset. With HTC Vive support, the gloves will be able to take advantage of its Lighthouse positional tracking system.
Manus VR announced that the first dev kit will be available for preorder in the second quarter this year for $250. The kits are expected to start shipping in the third quarter. The company previously allowed customers to preorder reservations in December, probably so it could gauge interest in the device. But from the look and sounds of it, users are interested.
The developer kit will include the pair of gloves, a USB dongle for a low-latency connection lower than 5 ms, and two wrist-mount holders for HTC Vive controllers. The dev kit is also open source and features plug-ins for Unity, Unreal, Android, C#, 3DsMax and Maya. More engines and development tools are expected to be added.
The company will demo the Manus VR gloves at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco next week, March 14-18. To showcase what the gloves can do, Manus VR will demo a new video game developed for the peripheral called Pillow's Willow, a puzzle game in a virtual dollhouse created by Pillow's Willow VR Studios.
Those who preordered the HTC Vive can expect their devices to start to ship on April 5.