Quest Pro controllers have important new features.
In the main Connect 2022 keynote, Meta spoke at length about the new Touch Pro controllers that are self-tracking, vaguely describing “new localized and VCM haptics upgrades”.
But in a developer talk, the company took a much closer look at the significantly improved haptic feedback, revealing new features like index finger tracking, thumb rest power measurement and more:
The “localized” haptics refers to the fact that each controller has 3 separate haptic motors: a voice coil modulator (VCM) in the handle and linear resonant actuators (LRAs) on the index finger and thumb grip. The level of haptic fidelity this delivers blew me away in my hands-on time with Quest Pro. It felt like the sense of touch was coming from the exact part of the virtual object I was picking up.
Meta says the VCM in the handle “enables the most complex and realistic haptic effects we’ve ever had through their ability to play audio like PCM data.”
One new feature not mentioned in the keynote at all is index finger tracking. The new trigger has a sensor that can track the “curl” and “slide” of your index finger. The curl is the distance from the finger to the trigger, while the slider represents where along the surface of the trigger your finger is touching (from left to right, one dimension).
The curved thumb grip on the controller has a pressure sensor that can sense up to 6 Newtons of force. Meta says that combined with index trigger input, this allows for a “precision pinch grip” interaction and the ability to pinch objects between your thumb and finger.
Developers can manually implement these use cases at launch and an API will be released in the future to calculate squeeze amount and squeeze pressure.
There is another force sensor in the base of the controller that can detect up to 2 Newtons of force. This enables accurate detection of contact points with real surfaces, so you can use the base of the controller as a marker or pen to write on tables or walls.
Finally, in a future update, Quest Pro will support controllers and hands tracking at the same time. This may make it possible to use one hand and one controller at the same time, which can be useful for games such as table tennis and golf.
Touch Pro is included in the Quest Pro box, but can also be purchased separately later this year for $300 to use with Quest 2.