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July 21, 2019
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Valve's updated Knuckles VR controller brings pinpoint finger-tracking

June 22, 2018 | By Chris Kerr




Valve has given us a look at the latest version of its SteamVR Knuckles motion controller, alongside a Portal-inspired 'Moondust' demo showing the tech in action. 

The new Knuckles EV2 (which replaces last year's EV 1.3) features an improved industrial design and ergonomics, updated input set and layout, new sensors, longer six-hour battery life, added support for SteamVR Tracking 2.0, and a more versatile hand strap. 

What does that mean in practice? Well, Valve claims the EV2 will offer much higher fidelity finger and thumb tracking, which the controller achieves by estimating finger positions and then interpreting that information into 31 bone transforms. 

It's an impressive feat, and one that allows for incredibly fine, nuanced interactions. As the brand new Moondust demo shows, the tech lets users delicately engage with all manner of objects, whether that involves tossing moon rocks around a crater, priming grenades, or constructing an elaborate space station. 

Valve has also added force sensors to the list of inputs developers can utilize with the Knuckles EV2, giving them the ability to map much more direct interactions and behaviors to in-game actions -- such as grabbing, pinching, crushing, charging, activating, and equipping. 

The latest iteration of the gamepad also sports a new thumbstick, a force sensitive 'track button,' along with a USB-C charging port that allows the controller to be fully charged in around 90 minutes. 

You can find out more about the Knuckles EV2, including how to get yours hands on a dev kit, by checking out Valve's comprehensive blog post. But before you do that, be sure to have a gander at the Moondust trailer (embedded above) to see what all the fuss is about.



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