We’ve been waiting – and waiting – for our Pimax VR headset and it looks it isn’t coming anytime soon. Before their new VR HMD shows up, we’ll get Pimax’s new VR controllers. And like their HMD with its super-wide field of view, the VR controllers are definitely different.
New VR Controllers
We’ve never been fans of the hand controllers for VR headsets. They’re large, bulky and undermine the sense of immersion in virtual reality. Let’s be honest here: if you pick something up in the real world, your hands generally need to be empty. In VR, it’s just the opposite. To pick something up, you need to be holding the VR controllers in the first place.
The knuckle style of the Pimax VR controllers make them feel much more natural. They’re not going let you pick up something with your fingers, but it’s a step closer to not gripping something with your hand. According to Road2VR,
Pimax boasts a number of changes from their penultimate prototype; the more compact Knuckles-style design straps securely to the back of your hand, letting you essentially forget the act of actively holding the controller so you can interact in VR more naturally. Like Knuckles, it now integrates capacitive sensors on five major areas of the controller to offer basic five-finger tracking. The company is also promising compatibility for both SteamVR 1.0 and 2.0 tracking standards.
Here’s a quick video of all the design iterations they went through in creating the new VR controllers.
The way it’s designed, the ring encircles the back part of your hand, unlike standard controllers where the ring is out in front. That makes it a little easier when you bump into something (like a table or desk). It’s hard to tell from a piece of plastic what you are touching, but with the Pimax units, you’ll be able to actually feel that wall in front of you.
They are also compatible with Steam which is essential as Pimax doesn’t have any major content plans at the moment (though they should, given the wide FOV).
Speaking of that new VR HMD
Pimax broke Kickstarter records in promoting their new 8K VR headset. And ever since, there have been delays. We’ve tried it several times and the sense of peripheral vision is remarkable. We’re not the only ones to note that after using it, your Vive or Rift feels like a pair of binoculars.
But for all the funding they garnered – $4.2 Million on Kickstarter and another $15 Million in a Series A round – they’re still running into production issues. The latest date is now early May.
We’ll let you know when ours shows up.
Emory Craig is a writer, speaker, and VR consultant with extensive experience in art, new media, and higher education. He speaks at global conferences on innovation, education, and ethical technology in the future. He has published widely and worked with the US Agency for International Development, the United Nations, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Living at the intersection of learning, games, and immersive storytelling, he is fascinated by AI-based avatars, digital twins, and the ethical implications of blurring the boundaries between the real and the virtual.