|Type||Input Device, Motion Tracker|
Rink prototype was created by a team of six from Samsung’s Creative Lab. It is basically a pair of hand controllers that is worn over the hands, similar to open-ended bracelets or brass knuckles. Rink has the ability to perform 360 degree hand and finger tracking and requires a tracking module that is placed on top of the VR headset. The module houses sensors which communicate with the controllers. In order to use the hand controllers, the user has to clench his/her fists, setting off a trigger in the process.
Design and Features
According to Samsung, the Rink is “an advanced hand-motion controller for mobile VR devices”. The product is meant to provide a natural way to interact with the virtual world and its objects. The Gear VR responds to the hand movements of the users via the Rink, enabling the users to interact with the virtual world.
The standout feature of the Rink, when compared to other VR controllers, is that it provides the user with enough flexibility to spin, shoot, push, point and grab objects in the virtual world, all in 360 degrees. In addition, the design of the Rink gives it a slight edge over other VR controllers present in the market. Oculus Touch, SteamVR Controllers and PlayStation Move require the users grip them with their hands, while the Rink are worn over the palms of the hands, without the need to grip them.
The Rink is expected to run various Gear VR apps. It may even have gesture recognition apps sometime in the future. Rink performs positional tracking for the user’s hands, along with interpreting the user’s different finger gestures. A promotional image of the Rink shows the user holding a virtual tennis racquet, depicting the controllers’ usage in gaming. Another potential use of the new VR gadget may be in the form of a virtual keyboard.
Problems of Current Rink
The Rink is still in an early stage of development. It is being developed by Samsung’s C-Lab R&D division. Showcased during CES 2016, the Rink prototype showed some flaws and instabilities during usage. Some users complained that they could not get the controllers to work at first and had to reset the whole equipment before trying again. Another user informed that the controller became quite hot after using it for only a short span of time. Nevertheless, the new VR gadget from Samsung seems to have quite versatile functions not currently common with the other gadgets and may even offer gesture recognition in the future.