Manus Metaglove: VR gloves with precise finger tracking

Manus Metaglove: VR gloves with precise finger tracking

VR accessory manufacturer Manus VR is showing the “Metaglove”, a new VR glove with precise finger tracking through magnets.

Founded in 2014, startup Manus specializes in accessories for VR and AR: So far, the company has launched the Prime professional tracking gloves, among other tracking systems such as Polygon and the Pro Trackers. Manus’ systems are mostly used for comparatively inexpensive motion capture or for VR applications such as VR training.

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At the developer conference GDC 2022, Manus now presented a new, magnet-based glove finger tracking system. The new approach is supposed to offer more accurate tracking than the bending and IMU sensors integrated in Manus gloves so far and also beat camera-based AI approaches, such as those used by Meta in Quest 2.

Manus demonstrates, for example, that finger tracking still runs stably even when individual fingers touch each other or hands and fingers cover each other. According to the manufacturer, the demo does not use any visual rendering tricks, but accurately reproduces the position and movements of the fingers.

On the inside of the gloves is a magnetic plate whose magnetic field reacts to individual magnets on the fingertips. The software measures the changes in the magnetic field and converts them into movement. We know from Google’s Project Soli that magnetic wave measurement can be extremely precise.

After calibration, the system is supposed to know the length and width of the fingers and enable the precise finger tracking shown in the video. To do this, the Manus software uses a digital skeleton of the hand that corresponds to the glove wearer.

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VR gloves for industry: pre-sales starting in April

According to Manus, the tracking of the gloves can be disrupted by metallic or electronic objects in the vicinity. However, at least the gloves should not irritate each other: Up to eight Metagloves can be in parallel use without tracking problems, according to the manufacturer. Practical tests will show how robust the tracking really is, especially over a longer period of time.

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The Metagloves are expected to cost $9,000. Pre-sales will begin in April 2022, with delivery scheduled for the third quarter of 2022. A version of the glove with added finger haptics is being planned. In order for the gloves to be tracked in space, an external additional tracking system like SteamVR’s will be required.

While Manus wants to continue bringing VR gloves to the market for everyone one day, it is not interesting for the company currently due to cost reasons.

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Sources: Road to VR