We went along to London’s virtual reality (VR) meet-up, VRLO, and managed to try out Noitom’s Hi5 VR Glove - the first wireless consumer gloves designed for VR and one of the latest accessories to the HTC Vive (read our HTC Vive review here).
The Hi5 VR Glove is the motion-capture company’s first consumer-focused product originally announced at CES earlier this year in Las Vegas.
Use both hands (and yes, all ten fingers) with HTC Vive’s VR headset and wrist-mounted Vive Tracker (which provides a wireless connection between tools and the Vive system), Noitom's Hi5 VR Glove (a set of two) and IMU sensor technology inside a virtual environment to make it all happen.
The gloves let you pick up objects, place them on tables, stack them and move them around - giving a much more immersive VR experience than sitting on a chair.
Noitcom is an official partner of HTC Vive. “The Noitom Hi5 Glove is a critical component to delivering an immersive VR experience and building out the ever-growing Vive ecosystem,” said Dan O’Brien, VP Virtual Reality, HTC Vive.
The Hi5 VR Glove uses the same technology used for Noitom’s small and affordable motion-capture mobcap suit - the Perception Neuron. Since its launch in 2014, Perception Neuron has been sold to individual developers, studios and schools. Perception Legacy, a more professional wireless motion capture system, was launched in 2013 for the film and gaming industry in China.
But for the gloves, each finger contains six nine-axis IMU sensors for full left-and-right hand motion capture with high performance tracking.
Although gestures and painting in mid-air are fluid, intuitive movements, it still feels a little robotic when grabbing objects - you have to hold your hands unnaturally far out from your body (as seen in the images below), and you have to pinch objects in a certain way to pick them up in the VR environment. However, the motion capture is said to perform a lot stronger than previous VR gloves such as ControlVR’s gesture control gloves which appeared on Kickstarter two years ago, PrioVR and more recently Manus VR.
The gloves work alongside Noitom’s Project Alice - a multi-user VR motion capture system that uses physical props and a large tracking space for business clients. It’s aimed toward industries such as real estate, car manufacturing and education and provides an immersive platform for entertainment, education, corporate training, advertising and virtual showrooms. Project Alice offers both the hardware and software infrastructure, so companies have the room to develop their own immersive experiences.
Noitom ('motion' spelt backwards, in case you were wondering) creates motion-capture technology that works alongside body movement for research and development, such as for actors, VFX and animation, VR and gaming, sports and fitness, health and medical and military and government simulations and training.
The gloves offer full-hand motion-capture, with high performance motion tracking sensors and an orientation output rate of 90 fps.
They feature an absolute position and orientation output, plug-and-play with optional calibration modes for higher accuracy, built-in rumbler with SDK access, single or duo hand modes, and are powered by one AA battery.
The gloves also have an efficient set-up time - simply pull on the glove, sync the wrist strap and it’s ready to use.
Price and Availability
The Hi5 VR Glove is expected to make its official launch into the consumer market in October, following the release of developer units which will be available in June/July with a price point still aimed at US$300.