A new video shows Sony Interactive Entertainment's research work on a finger-tracking controller that would be perfectly suited for a next-gen PlayStation VR system.
The video is fully titled "Evaluation of Machine Learning Techniques for Hand Pose Estimation on Handheld Device with Proximity Sensor", and it's attributed to Sony researchers Kazuyuki Arimatsu and Hideki Mori. Upload VR (opens in new tab) spotted the video (and accompanying article) on the Association for Computing Machinery's digital library (opens in new tab) then uploaded it to YouTube for easier watching. It looks like this prototype is related to a patent for a finger-tracking controller that Sony first filed back in 2018 (opens in new tab).
The prototype uses 62 "capacitance-sensing electrodes" to detect where fingers are located even when they're relatively distant from the controller itself - using the same slight electrical field produced by our bodies that lets you interact with your smartphone's touchscreen.
Many finger-tracking VR controllers already exist, but this prototype is remarkable for the fidelity it allows for tracking each finger in a wide variety of poses and conditions. That includes wearing a ton of metal jewellry on your hands, and having extra-sweaty palms (scientifically simulated with a copious spray of saline solution).
This is an exciting look at new technology, but it will probably be a while before we get to try out any kind of a consumer version from Sony. The company has confirmed that it has no plans to launch new VR hardware alongside PS5 (opens in new tab), via CNET (opens in new tab), which means we shouldn't expect it to arrive until mid to late 2021 at the earliest. That said, Sony has also confirmed that the current iteration of PlayStation VR will work on PS5, so you'll be able to keep playing in VR that way even as you wait to make peace signs with sweaty palms on your next-gen controller.
Make the most of the current generation of VR with our guide to the best PSVR games (opens in new tab).