HTC's Vive Tracker promises to bring pretty much any real-life object (as long as it fits in your house) into VR. Attach the Tracker to a golf club or a baseball bat and do your best impression of an athlete, or attach it to a fake gun and get real tactical real fast.
To compete with the Vive Tracker, Oculus includes a mount with its Touch controllers. It's not nearly as exciting, but it sort of delivers the same experience (and it doesn't cost extra). Officially branded with a Rock Band VR logo, it's primarily intended to work with the plastic guitar accessories required to play the game. In our testing, it worked really well, and it got us thinking about what sort of other things we could track by attaching a Touch controller.
Oculus Touch accessory guidelines
Oculus actually has an official Touch Accessory Guideline file available for download from its website. Contained within are some CAD files for the battery compartment, cover, and mount, and the documentation to go along with them.
While these guidelines seem to be intended for developers, there's nothing stopping anyone with a 3D printer from creating their own mounts to attach to a variety of items.
To what can you attach your Touch controllers?
If you're wondering just what, exactly, you can attach your Rift controllers to other than the Rock Band guitar, that's really up to you. As long as a mount can be attached to it, whether with temporary adhesive or plain old tape, tracking should work to some extent.
The Vive Tracker is shown being mounted on golf clubs, baseball bats, guns, and the wrists of special gloves, and, with a bit of ingenuity, you can likely achieve the same thing with your Touch controllers
VR Baseball immediately comes to mind. Normally, you'd hold one touch controller between both hands and swing away, but attaching it to a real bat just above the grip would work pretty well.
One fan of The Golf Club VR also came up with a golf club mod for a Touch controller. Reddit user davideliasirwin's creation involves a cut down golf club with a Touch controller attached where the shaft would normally be. Pretty cool!
As another example, YouTuber Greg Driver put together this video of his invention that involves a modified airsoft gun with Touch controller attached. There's not a lot of information as to how exactly all this was put together, but it has something to do with using the sound of the gun's trigger to register a shot. It's certainly fun to watch, and it will no doubt give a lot of you inspiration for your own creations.
3D printing recipes already available
Avid first-person shooter fans have already taken it upon themselves to create 3D-printed models of gun stocks. One option, submitted to Thingiverse by user Gurgeix, has a butt and mounts for both controllers. In games like Onward, where aiming down your sights requires you to line up both controllers, this sort of stock is invaluable.
If you don't have a 3D printer and still want a cool stock to help with shooters, all is not lost. Reddit user Falandorn submitted a creation made out of PVC pipes and hose clamps that works the same way as a 3D-printed model.
How to avoid tracking issues
When attaching your Touch controllers to real-world items, there are a couple guidelines to follow to ensure everything works properly. First, don't cover up the handguard/ring on the Touch controller; the sensors need to see it in order for it to be tracked.
Second, don't place the controller on a mirrored surface or on anything that has its own flashing lights. This will likely interfere with the sensors and you'll have an overall bad time.
Other than those guidelines, ensure the Touch controllers are securely fastened with some sort of temporary adhesive, and, if possible, also attach the wrist strap to the item.
Your tracking adventures
Have you attached your Touch controller to any real-world items? Was it a success? What game did you play? Let us know in the comments section!
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