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This Disrupt hack brings hand-tracking to the Gear VR

TechCrunch TechCrunch 8/05/2016 Lucas Matney

One of the biggest limitations of mobile VR at the moment is the lack of input. Google Cardboard is gathering some fixes via sensors from companies like PMD, but Angel Say wanted to make that solution available on the more high-powered Gear VR platform so at this weekend’s TechCrunch Disrupt NY Hackathon he strived to bring hand-tracking to the Gear VR.

Samsung’s Gear VR is infamously incompatible with most add-ons. Despite having an input port available on the underside of the headset, there really isn’t enough power allocated on it to run any of the more sophisticated sensors. To get around this, Say attached the PMD sensor to his computer and wirelessly transmitted a partial point cloud to his Gear VR headset.

Say said there were some limitations to wirelessly transmitting the PMD sensor data in that things just weren’t quite as accurate as they were on the tethered connection for Google Cardboard.

To illustrate the potential of the platform, Say made what he called “poor man’s Tilt Brush” to work on the Gear VR. Check out the video above to see Say’s Hackathon presentation.

Say has some pretty stellar TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon chops already. He won the NY Disrupt Hackathon in 2014 with another virtual reality app, Vrban, a “hack” that would evolve into InsiteVR, a company which became apart of Y-Combinator’s Winter 2015 class and raised $120k in seed funding.

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