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Virtual Reality and Controllers

Many Virtual Reality headsets come hand-in-hand with controllers to immerse you into content.

Specifically made for VR, custom controllers are replacing the conventional way of how we interact and explore the virtual worlds that we have access to – allowing us to actively involve ourselves in the action rather than passively letting the information flow over us.

VR’s ability to support a range of controllers is something that many hardware makers are looking into, especially that VR is on a roll right now with a variety of headsets and experiences.

Aside from hand-held controllers, many companies are now working on gesture controllers that take your Virtual Reality experience to the next, hands-free level.

With the steady stream of VR headsets being made available to the public, along with new options already in development, it’s the perfect time for various companies to take advantage of developing motion controllers for VR.

These are not just ordinary gaming controllers however – these controllers take the natural movement of our hands to translate into tangible action on a virtual world.

Making use of our hand movements, gesture controllers for VR could take our interactions with our virtual content intuitive and more realistic. With these, you can literally touch anything you see on a virtual environment as if you would do on the real, physical world.

The Oculus Touch is a Virtual Reality Controller

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Top Controllers on the Market Today

There are a variety of hand-held controllers and gesture controllers for you to select alongside a VR headset - based on the type on experience you want to create.

But which one is best? Here we have compiled a list of the top controllers available for use with VR on the market today:

SprintR VR

The SprintR VR is a wireless footpad that acts as a foot-based VR controller. It features a stationary base and a smoothly moving top plate.

It banks on the idea that you can rest your foot onto the SprintR footpad, letting you control and move around your virtual environment without leaving your seat.

It works hand in hand with any hand-based controller, which means you can use any hand controller and the SprintR footpad at the same time to navigate within any virtual space.

Along with its motion sensing feature, it also provides haptic feedback based on anything that happens in your virtual environment.

Oculus Touch

The VR headset that started the VR revolution now has a groundbreaking controller.

The Oculus Touch is a hand-based VR controller that lets you explore your virtual world and do things with your virtual content on the Oculus Rift.

With gesture-based and direct-control interfaces, Touch lets you manipulate objects within your virtual environment using your hands’ natural movements.

HTC Vive Controllers

The HTC Vive VR headset comes with an accompanying high-end controller – one that takes your finger input into a smooth trackpad that essentially translates into fluid movement in the VR space you’re looking at.

Increasing interactivity within your content, the Vive controller is equipped with a trackpad that sense your finger movement. You can make a simple swipe gesture to look around your virtual environment, or you can flick your way around your content to look closely on or pick up objects – all with high accuracy and responsiveness.

There are a number of different Vive controllers on offer - Vive Wand, Steam Gamepad, Knuckles and more.

There are two Vive controllers that come bundled with the HTC Vive VR headset.

Samsung Gear VR Controller

The Samsung Gear VR's controller is shaped to be used naturally with one hand, and seamlessly works with a Gear VR and a compatible Samsung Galaxy Smartphone.

The wireless Gear VR controller can point and move like Google's Wii remote-like Daydream View remote does, but has a larger set of buttons: dedicated volume plus two more buttons on the top, and a trigger underneath the circular clickable touchpad.

3DRudder

Want to navigate around your VR world without ever leaving your seat? 3DRudder is a feet-based VR controller solution that lets you explore your virtual world using your feet.

Tilting gestures from your feet translate into movement in the virtual space you’re in, configured to let you move around within your VR environment fluidly and accurately.

The advantage that it offers is that it essentially frees up your hands to handle other controllers, making full use of your hands and feet to control your VR world.

The 3DRudder is compatible with VR headsets and can also work with your PC or gaming consoles as an input device to complement your other controllers on hand.

SteelSeries Stratus XL

The SteelSeries Stratus XL is a consumer VR controller solution that’s compatible with a wide range of VR hardware. The familiarity of its form factor closely resembles the Xbox One controller, keeping user ergonomics and comfort in mind.

The Stratus XL can be paired with the Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive, and the Oculus Rift to control a wide range of controller-based VR experiences.

It operates wirelessly via Bluetooth, and can run up to 40 hours of continuous usage on two AA batteries.

Leap Motion

The Leap Motion, that attaches to the Oculus Rift, is a gesture controller that adds gesture-based control and functionality to the popular VR headset.

It lets you do physical-world gestures in a virtual environment, which means you can do things like grabbing, punching, and picking up just about anything in your virtual scene.

In addition, the Orion software update for Leap Motion takes its gesture recognition capabilities even further, bringing improvements to speed, accuracy, and realism of your gestures in VR.

eyeSight

Israel-based tech company eyeSight brings gesture-controlled VR experiences to the table with its proprietary gesture recognition technology.

This tech translates your hand movements into real-time actions on your virtual environment.

Their technology not only benefits the field of virtual reality and augmented reality, but reaches out to the mainstream consumer technologies we use today – it has integrated itself within a range of smartphones, tablets, PCs, and smart TVs.

Myo

The Myo armband takes a different approach to gesture control. Developed by Thalmic Labs, it is a wearable armband that senses your arm, hand, and finger movements to create tangible controls on your content.

It benefits virtual environments in VR hardware, but it is also available for PCs and mobile devices.

Its ability to control your virtual environment was seen first on the Oculus Rift demo of Icarus Rising, a VR flight game.

Why Should I Hire A Virtual Reality Controller?

If you want to engage your audience more actively in your VR experience, hiring a controller is the perfect solution.

A controller allows users to manipulate different items and environments within the virtual landscape, which is bound to leave a lasting impression on said user.

Most headsets come bundled with controllers which eliminates the need for extensive searching, but there are many solutions available depending on what you want to achieve.

If you don't want to lumber your audience with hand-held controllers, innovative gesture controllers are available that recognise the movement of your audience's bodies and translates that into commands within the virtual world.