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eyeSight Puts VR Gesture Controls in Your Hands

Who needs a controller in virtual reality when you have a perfectly good pair of hands? Israel-based eyeSight Technologies wants to eliminate the need for VR-related peripherals with a new gesture-control system. Designed for smartphone-powered headsets like the Samsung Gear VR or Google Cardboard, eyeSight uses your phone's rear camera to let you navigate your virtual space with your hands.

eyeSight Technologies plans to make its gesture-control system available to developers during the third quarter of 2016. It hasn't yet set a price.

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If the demo video of eyeSight in action is anything to go by, it's not the "Minority Report" display people have been waiting for, but it's a start. Just having the ability to click on something without tapping a button on the side of the headset or on a controller lends a lot to the immersive experience. Ideally, when playing a VR game, I'd want the ability to make a gun with my hand and fire a weapon by making a shooting gesture, which is something that eyeSight CEO Gideon Shmuel stated is definitely possible.

According to Shmuel, the technology can accurately identify a fingertip from about 16.4 feet away, but the sweet spot is between 12 to 19 inches in front of the headset. Once eyeSight identifies your hand, it utilizes your phone's processing power to create a graphical representation in real time.

Unfortunately, thanks to the narrow field of view (FOV) on today's current crop of smartphones, eyeSight can realistically detect only one hand at a time. The company is working to get several manufacturers to include cameras with wider FOVs or stereoscopic technology that could fit more hands into view. However, even in its current iteration, eyeSight has the potential to open a whole new way of interaction and immersion for mobile VR aficionados.