Facebook Launches Oculus Touch

The virtual world just got a lot more intuitive. 

On Wednesday, Oculus, a virtual reality tech company acquired by Facebook in 2014, announced the launch of a new product: Oculus Touch, a set of two hand-held controllers which are designed to work in conjunction with the company's exiting product, the Rift (a virtual reality headset which offers the most advanced, immersive VR experience available on the mass-market).

After Facebook delayed the handsets' release earlier this year, Oculus Touch has been a highly-anticipated addition to the overall Oculus hardware bracket, given its huge potential to open new avenues in the application of virtual reality to everyday life.

Facebook claims the Touch 'lets you bring your hands into VR for the most immersive experience possible. You can gesture intuitively and manipulate digital objects with precision — making your VR experiences more seamless and comfortable for a deeper sense of presence.' 
Oculus touch handsets - img: Facebook Newsroom
Arguably, the Rift is currently best employed in making people fall over when they're already sitting down. The addition of Touch, however, hails the opening of myriad new avenues by which the existing technology can be augmented. Surgeons training for heart surgery will be able to step into a virtual environment and actually wield a scalpel, rather than just watch the process being demonstrated. Video gamers will actually be able to throw punches and stroke puppies, rather than pressing a series of buttons to do so.

Indeed, most representations of the possibilities of the Touch (which are laid-out in an official video released by Facebook at the time of the announcement) depict two ghostly hands in front of the user's view; which are maneuvered with actual arm and hand movements, and the finer actions of which are determined by button-presses on the controllers themselves. 

Whilst the Rift is priced at a hefty £549, the new Touch handsets are currently only £189.99 on Amazon; which isn't surprising, really, seeing as how the latter is pretty much useless without the former (unless you need a pair of ironic knuckle-dusters).

In the wider view, however, this is also a much needed shot in the arm for the innovation wing of Facebook as a whole. The company just announced a $6bn share buyback last month designed to calm investor nerves about slowing growth. With the striking of a rich new seam by Oculus, however, perhaps we can anticipate a more optimistic outlook for Facebook's share price in the future.

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