HTC Vive Focus 3 receives big hand tracking update

HTC Vive Focus 3 receives big hand tracking update

Published: 10-12-2021
Updated: 31-01-2023

It was only back in June when HTC Vive released their latest VR headset, the Focus 3, to rave reviews from many in the industry.  What is more exciting is how the technology is becoming more impressive with every new firmware update released. With the latest update, HTC put a major focus on improving the precision and performance of the device’s hand tracking.

What are the key upgrades of the Vive Focus 3 update?

This firmware update (v3.0.999.284) brings significant improvements to the hand tracking functionality. This gives users a viable alternative to using the HTC controllers themselves. Hand tracking should feel much more natural now. Especially when dealing with fast movements – giving you much more precision as a result.  In addition, users should get better accuracy for specific interface movements such as pinching, swiping, and similar actions.

The hand tracking engine is using a 26-point skeletal model that can track every individual movement of each of your fingers, using that information to translate into gestures. HTC, in their official announcement, had this to say:

“Being able to navigate virtual environments naturally and intuitively will go a long way towards making VR more accessible to everyone. No matter their familiarity with technology. As we step into the metaverse era, we couldn’t be more excited to bring these quality-of-life improvements to all VIVE Focus 3 customers around the world.”

VR Expert - htc vive focus 3

This is expected to be the first of many updates as the software continues to improve. Making it more and more natural to work with your hands in VR.

What does this mean for companies who are leveraging VR?

The HTC Vive Focus 3 is primarily targeted towards business applications. This update will be a significant boost to the device’s usability and functionality across a wide variety of enterprise use cases.

  • In the training space, the improved hand tracking makes for much more realistic training scenarios. This helps to further democratize training opportunities and vastly reduce the cost and resource consumption that comes along with real in-person training.
  • For design, increased accuracy and performance allows creatives to open up their minds to new possibilities and not be constrained by technical limitations.  The improved gestures and general tracking should prove a significant boon. We’re likely to see a range of new innovations as a result.
  • In education, the improvements in hand tracking increases overall immersion and enhances the ability for ultra practical exercises and demonstrations to be run at scale.

How does this stack up to the Oculus Quest 2?

The natural comparison that will be drawn here is with the Oculus Quest 2. The Oculus is a device that has so far exceeded the HTC Vive Focus in terms of hand tracking. Excitingly, this particular update definitely helps to close the gap. This makes the HTC product a viable alternative for companies to utilize.

VR Expert - vive focus quest 2

The hand-tracking on the Oculus is still slightly better though. So if that’s the key criteria for you then keep that in mind. Regardless of what direction you go in, both options are now incredibly adept with hand tracking. This opens the doors to a range of new features and functionality that compound the value of the headsets themselves.