Skip to main content

Finch Shift universal VR controller helps you come to grips with virtual worlds

Multiplayer Mobile VR and Streaming PC VR games with Finch Shift
Virtual reality has moved way beyond the early “passive tourist” phase, when it was simply enough to present users with beautiful 360-degree environments they could explore by moving their heads. Today, what everyone is clamoring for — from VR companies to users — is a way of letting people interact with the virtual world using handheld controllers.

This is an increasingly populated area, but one company that’s presenting some promising accessories is Russian startup Finch. With its new Finch Shift tech, the company has created a pair of joysticks that work in association with armband sensors on the upper arm to help track and visualize hand and finger movement in VR — without cameras or cables.

To do this, the controller employs sensors capable of determining real-time position of the user’s hands with sub-centimeter accuracy and a 360-degree tracking range.

“Unlike Daydream-type controllers with few buttons and a directional pointer, [our solution] allows you to do a full range of interactions in VR, and runs on any smartphone with a gyroscope,” creator Alexey Kartashov told Digital Trends.

In terms of compatibility, Shift promises to work with everything from smartphone VR systems like Google Cardboard to Samsung Gear VR, and offers compatability with HTC Vive, Oculus and OSVR headsets. Coupled with some “PC-to-mobile” streaming software, it also wants to make it possible to run existing Steam VR, Oсulus, and HTC Vive apps and games on smartphone virtual reality headsets.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

All of this will be done at a significantly cheaper price point than many competitors.

“The key advantage that Shift gives users is immediate access to the huge variety of VR apps already developed for Oculus and HTC Vive,” Kartashov continued. “For less than $200 for a set of Shift controllers and any VR glasses, you could get access to the best VR experience currently available only for HTC or Oculus owners, who paid $400-800 for the headsets, plus $1,500 for an expensive PC to run the headsets.

Finch will be showing off its wares at January’s CES event, after which the plan is to launch a $179 Developer’s Kit including the controllers, SDK/API, three demo games ,and the proprietary streaming software.

A Kickstarter in the second half of 2017 will then aim to bring a version to market for regular folks. By the end of 2017, Kartashov said the ambition is to have “at least 50 mobile VR multiplayer apps” compatible with the platform.

Editors' Recommendations

Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
Apple dives deeper into virtual reality with purchase of broadcaster NextVR
Apple companies header

Apple confirmed its purchase of events broadcaster NextVR, an acquisition that further proves the company's plans to enter the virtual reality space.

NextVR, based in California, said on its website that the company is "heading in a new direction," without providing further details. The startup broadcasted and produced live and recorded events in virtual reality, including sports competitions and concerts, and had forged partnerships with the likes of Live Nation, WWE, the NBA, and the NFL.

Read more
PlayStation VR on the PS5 could ditch Move controllers for finger-tracking
playstation vr 2017 review front angle

Sony got good mileage out of its PlayStation Move motion controllers, which it introduced for the PS3 generation. But it could be moving to something more akin to the Valve Index controller for the upcoming PlayStation 5. A patent application published this month suggests finger-tracking technology could come to the system, possibly for use with PlayStation VR.

The application, which was first filed in 2018, is for a hand-worn device that includes sensors to detect individual fingers. A "sensor support" unit is located in the middle and is adjustable to accommodate different hand sizes.

Read more
YouTube VR app to bring more than 1 million experiences to Oculus Quest at launch

As virtual reality HMD adoption rises, entertainment media powerhouses are getting more skin in the game. YouTube is where many consume their content and the platform has amassed over one million VR videos and experiences. The team behind it wants to continue to grow with VR and, to do that, the team revealed that YouTube is coming to the Oculus Quest as a launch application.

YouTube VR launched in November 2016 and is already available on Daydream View, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, Samsung Gear, VR, Oculus Go, and Oculus Rift. This gives it a home on not only the powerful PC-tethered virtual reality options but can be taken on the go with mobile and completely wireless VR HMDs. The Oculus Quest is bridging the gap with powerful, fully immersive VR content without having to be connected to a PC and having the YouTube VR app at launch gives potential consumers a wealth of content to access immediately.

Read more