Oculus recently rolled out hand tracking support for the Oculus Quest. The feature allows you to navigate menus and even play some games with nothing but your hands. It's a new and exciting feature for the Oculus Quest, but it's still relatively limited in terms of which games you can play. While Oculus improved the feature after a year in preview, there are a few things you can do to help get the best hand tracking experience.
Products used in this guide
- Standalone VR: Oculus Quest (opens in new tab) ($400 at Best Buy)
- Darkness my old friend: Mellons Unisex Winter Knit Classic Solid Color Gloves (black) (opens in new tab) ($7 at Amazon)
Light it up
The Oculus Quest's hand tracking works with the headset's monochrome cameras. This is great because that means it doesn't require any external hardware. However, it also means that hand tracking on the Oculus Quest isn't as precise as dedicated VR gloves, at least for now. Oculus uses AI to make the experience better, but there's still some work to do.
To get the best hand tracking experience, you need to have enough light for the cameras to see you. If you go into an area that is too dark, the Oculus Quest will show an error message that tells you to adjust your lighting. It doesn't have to be as bright as the sun to work— in fact, you shouldn't use the Oculus Quest outside— but you need enough light in the room.
In my house, most rooms are lit by a single light bulb, and hand tracking works fine. In my testing, I went into our brightest room, which has multiple light fixtures and two large windows. Hand tracking worked as well in this room as I've seen it work.
Because hand tracking on the Oculus Quest utilizes monochrome cameras, a pair of black gloves can help the cameras see your hands just a bit better. The black gloves increase the contrast between your hands and the background, resulting in slightly improved tracking. Don't expect a pair of gloves to make the Oculus Quest's hand tracking feel like dedicated VR gloves, but these Mellons winter gloves (opens in new tab), or gloves like them, helped improve hand tracking a bit.
In my testing, I noticed less jittering and slightly improved finger tracking. It's worth noting that the background of my room is light, but the effect seemed to work even when I went into darker rooms.
Mellons Unisex Winter Knit Classic Solid Color Gloves (opens in new tab) ($7 at Amazon)
These little black gloves add a bit of contrast between your hands and the background behind them. This helps improve hand tracking a bit in our experience, if only by a little.
Hand tracking is in its infancy on the Oculus Quest. It's available now and developers can implement it in their games, but it's still new. At the moment, hand tracking works in the Oculus Quest's main menu and with a few select games. If you want to try out hand tracking for yourself, make sure to check out our collection of the best hand tracking games on the Oculus Quest.
A full-VR experience that doesn't require a PC
The Oculus Quest supports six degrees of freedom and tracks both you and your environment. You can play a wide range of games and also enjoy VR and 360-degree video content.
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