Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently paid a visit to the Oculus Research Lab in Redmond, Washington, which is led by former Valve gaming head Michael Abrash.
Zuckerberg documented his visit by uploading photos on Facebook, and in one of the pictures, showed off a prototype for a virtual reality glove.
Zuckerberg Tries Out VR Gloves
In the Oculus Research Lab, Abrash leads a team focused on the development of next-generation hardware for virtual reality technology. The pictures uploaded by Zuckerberg showcased the capabilities of the facility, but one photo stands out from the rest.
In the photo, Zuckerberg can be seen wearing the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset and a pair of white gloves. It is hard to make out at first, but upon closer inspection, it looks like Zuckerberg is imitating the web-slinging hands of Spider-Man.
"We're working on new ways to bring your hands in virtual and augmented reality," wrote Zuckerberg in the caption of the picture. He added that by wearing the gloves while in virtual reality, users will be able to draw, type on a virtual keyboard, and as seen in the uploaded photo, shoot webs like Spider-Man.
There is not much detail given beyond what Zuckerberg posted though. It appears that the gloves are pretty plain-looking, and that Zuckerberg is wearing a wireless Oculus Rift. In addition, instead of the external tracking cameras that are usually paired with the virtual reality headset, Zuckerberg's test on the virtual reality gloves was powered by several third-party OptiTrack sensors.
Oculus VR Gloves Technology
The project that the Oculus Research Lab is working on could be associated with the company's acquisition of Pebbles Interfaces in July 2015. The Israeli company, which was reportedly purchased for $60 million, was focused on gesture-control technology, and at the time had recently integrated their work into the Oculus Rift.
The virtual reality gloves that Zuckerberg showed off could mean that Oculus is ramping up its interest in developing hardware and software that will take advantage of the wearer's complete hand. The recently released Oculus Touch controllers has given Oculus Rift users wider capabilities in using their hands while in virtual reality, but they do not compare to having actual hands as input devices.
A glove input device will greatly expand the capabilities of virtual reality environments, with being able to type in particular possibly increasing the technology's applications for business. Some sources claim that Facebook engineers are carrying out experiments on coding while in virtual reality, as that provides them with infinite screen space compared to the several monitors required in real life.
Good News For Oculus
The pictures that Zuckerberg uploaded, in addition to the teaser of a virtual reality glove, could be the Facebook CEO's way of trying to divert the attention of virtual reality aficionados away from the bad news that has surrounded Oculus recently.
It was recently reported that Facebook is shutting down hundreds of demo station for the Oculus Rift in Best Buy stores, with the reason said to be due to store performance. In addition, Oculus was ordered last week to pay ZeniMax $500 million as a result of a lawsuit covering the technology found in the Oculus Rift.