Meta Says It Reduced Quest Pro Controllers Startup Time

Meta claims update v50 reduces the time Touch Pro controllers take to synchronize their tracking with the headset.

The Touch Pro controllers track themselves via three cameras and a relatively powerful onboard chipset. This means tracking works at any angle regardless of where the headset is facing, but there is a major downside. Since their tracking is completely independent of the headset, when you pick them up it takes a few seconds for their coordinate space to be synchronized to the headset – as we noted in our Quest Pro review. The controllers do move in this time, but are misaligned from the correct position.

With the Quest v50 update, Meta says it “reduced the amount of time it takes for tracking to initialize on the Meta Quest Touch Pro controllers. In other words, your controllers will be quicker to respond when you first put on your headset”.

It’s not actually entirely clear whether this refers to the synchronization time or the actual start-up time. The controllers, like even the Quest 2 controllers, also have a time between pressing a button and actually turning on. We’ll be testing this ourselves when our headsets get version 50.

Touch Pro also works with Quest 2, so this change should also apply to it when v50 actually rolls out.

Best Flight Sticks And HOTAS Controllers For VR Space Combat And Flight Games Like Star Wars: Squadrons

Star Wars: Squadrons releases October 2nd (check out our info roundup for more details) and is fully playable not only in VR, but with a flight stick or full HOTAS (Hands-On Throttle And Stick) setup on both PC VR and PSVR. This is our list of the best options!

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One note worth mentioning is that Star Wars: Squadrons is not a space flight sim. This is an arcade-style space combat game. While you will need to manage power systems and fly well during dogfights, it’s relatively pick up and play compared to more complex games. As a result, it’s totally playable on just a controller, keyboard and mouse, or even a single flight stick without a full HOTAS if you wanted.

Since this very well may be the first real game many people have played with a flight stick or HOTAS, we’ve got a list of the best controllers to get for that game — or any compatible VR game.


Best Flight Sticks And HOTAS Controllers For Flight Sims and Star Wars: Squadrons


thrustmaster t.16000M fcs flight pack

Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS (PC)

Amazon: $320 for HOTAS, $100 for stick only, or $380 for HOTAS and pedals

This is the HOTAS I have at home that I have continued to use personally after reviewing it back in 2017. while I haven’t too spend much time with it since I don’t play a lot of flight sims, it’s still been a great experience every time I have used it. The stick itself is extremely sturdy and feels fantastic in my hand. There is a throttle as well, but I personally usually just use the stick because it has a built-in slider at the bottom that acts like a throttle. So I rest my left hand on the left side and move the throttle slider with my thumb.

One feature I love is that you can twist the stick (in addition to pushing it forward, back, left, and right obviously) which is great in flight games for yaw control, or rotation of your ship. You can get just the stick for around $100 instead, which is what I prefer on PC as explained.


Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS X (PC)

Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS X (PC)

Amazon: $160

I have not personally used this one but it’s recommended often across message boards and Reddit, plus it has great reviews coming in at 4.5 stars after over 5,000 ratings. That’s quite solid. It’s more affordable than the previous option with similar functionality here — although the stick and throttle do seem to be connected. I love the ergonomic design and easily accessible buttons on both sides of the device though.


logitech extreme 3d pro

Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Joystick (PC)

Amazon: $40

I have not used this stick, but plenty of people recommend it (4.5 stars on nearly 4,000 ratings) as an extremely affordable entry-level stick-only device. There’s no throttle included at all, but for this price it’s hard to beat. You get 12 buttons and enough stick movement to play most VR games that function with a stick only.


Ace Combat 7 Thrustmaster 2

Thrustmaster T.Flight HOTAS 4 (PC, PS4)

Amazon: $140, GameStop: $80

If you’re planning to play Squadrons on PSVR (or other games like Ace Combat 7 or EVE Valkyrie Warzone) then this is a great HOTAS to get. Jamie played Ace Combat 7 in PSVR with this and loved using it. I haven’t used it recently, but I did use it at an event once and really enjoyed the feel and design. It’s similar to the HOTAS X from above, but a little cheaper, and with PS4 support. There are only 440 reviews on Amazon as of the time of this writing, but it seems to be a good all-around choice if you want a decent HOTAS setup without breaking the bank.


hori hotas flight stick

HORI HOTAS Flight Stick For PlayStation 4 (PS4)

Amazon: $330 HORI: $200

This setup is a little pricier, but you get the benefit of a device that is tailor-made for the PS4. This even has a built-in PS4 touchpad so you don’t need to take off the headset or grab a controller at all. Additionally, like the T.16000 for PC and most other premium HOTAS setups, you can separate the throttle and stick for a more comfortable arrangement.


Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog (PC)

Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog (PC)

Amazon: $999+, eBay: $380+

Good luck finding one, but this is one of the most premium HOTAS setups you can get for PC. As a premium offering, this setup is more than just a game controller — it’s an actual replica from the U.S. Air Force A 10C aircraft. All the buttons, switches, and physical components look just like they do in that aircraft’s cockpit. That’s pretty wild and it features over 19 buttons with fantastic precision.

That’s our list of flight stick and HOTAS recommendations for VR space combat and flight sim games. Are you excited for Star Wars: Squadrons? Do you have other recommendations? Let us know down in the comments below!

Etee Is A Lightweight Finger-Sensing VR Controller With No Trigger

During CES in January I tried a pair of controllers called “etee” that were lightweight with finger-sensing features. As I held them in my hands, a laptop screen showed which gestures and movements the controllers recognized.

The lightweight controllers recognized each of my fingers and my grip — even tight squeezing — but I don’t recall them recognizing if I spread my fingers out and moved a couple of them vertically up and down along the base of the controller. That’s not a common movement, so not likely to be a big deal, but what is a big deal is they lack a physical trigger.

They’re seeking nearly $57,000 on Kickstarter to bring the controllers to fruition during the COVID-19 pandemic. An early bird pledge of around $297 promises a pair of the controllers with a “bespoke” SteamVR Tracker included and estimated delivery of December 2020. While that should add 6DoF tracking to the controllers, it is also slightly more than it costs to buy a pair of Index Controllers which have the backing of Valve and either indirect or direct support in most VR games on Steam.

The etee controllers should ship with software tools for developers to use and, according to the group behind the project, they will include “the ability to bind etee finger sensing and other control surface inputs to those of traditional SteamVR controls via the embedded SteamVR UI” and they say etee can “connect to the full range of SteamVR games and applications that are already available.”

That’s a big claim and one we haven’t directly tested to see how it holds up in some popular VR games. As noted above, the hands-on time was just via a 2D screen. The image below from the company’s Kickstarter page shows the way the input from the controllers should be able to be customized.

Every other major controller on the market includes a physical trigger and the vast majority of VR software is built around this fundamental input mechanism. How exactly major games play with the customized input is an open question.

The Kickstarter project raised nearly $10,000 toward its goal at the time of this writing. Hardware Kickstarters, however, are notoriously risky ventures and we should note that even companies like Valve and Facebook have been struck by production problems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Manus Polygon Mixes Full VR Body And Hand-Tracking For Multiplayer Use

Manus, the VR company that offers enterprise-level hand-tracking solutions, this week revealed a new full-body tracking solution to complement its existing offerings.

Called Manus Polygon, the system works using Vive Tracker pucks. The original Manus solutions already use two of these sensors attached to the backs of your hands to track their positions in virtual space. The sensors utilize the same SteamVR base-stations that track the HTC Vive and Valve Index headsets.

Manus Polygon GIF

But Polygon adds another Tracker to your waist and two on your feet. We’ve seen full body tracking of this sort in plenty of other applications before (HTC itself was keen to highlight its use). But it’s in the mix of hand-tracking that makes this solution stand out.

In theory, this could take Manus a step beyond some competing VR body tracking systems. Other body tracking systems do sometimes offer finger-tracking, but we’ve tried Manus’ gloves, which are ready to slip on and calibrate. We haven’t tried Polygon itself, but that ease of use could be key. Crucially, the system comes with what Manus says is an easy calibration system that users themselves can operate. Polygon also comes with multiplayer support.

We took a look at the Manus VR gloves in a recent episode of our VR Culture Show. You can see it in action below.

Polygon will be arriving with enterprise customers this June. A price hasn’t been announced but, considering the Manus gloves themselves start at €2990, we wouldn’t hold our breath for a more consumer-friendly option.

You can find out more about Manus Polygon here.

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Table Tennis In VR Gets 3D Printed Paddle For Oculus Touch Controllers

A project developed by mechanical engineers Florian Auté and Alexis Roseillier resulted in a 3D printed paddle, grip and holder for an Oculus Touch controller.

The grip replicates the feel of a real racket for use in the VR table tennis game Eleven.

Eleven was already available on PC VR but just launched on the Oculus Quest last week. The game offers realistic physics and environments that simulate the classic game of ping pong. The extreme light weight of a ping pong ball also makes the sport a good candidate to replicate in VR, as the haptic feedback provided is much less than, say, hitting a baseball or tennis ball.

One area that differs the most, though, is replicating the grip of a real table tennis paddle in VR. An Oculus Touch controller, or any other VR current controller, does not have the same grip, feel, orientation or weight as a real table tennis paddle. So modifications to the controller would be needed to make that happen.

oculus quest touch ping pong paddle

To counter this problem, in January Florian Auté began prototyping a way to integrate an Oculus Touch controller with a standard table tennis paddle grip. Auté worked on the initial prototypes with his girlfriend as they focused on connecting an Oculus Touch controller to an existing paddle grip.

Auté then enrolled the help of friends Alexis Roseillier and his wife for their 3D printing knowledge and skills, and they began work on a 3D printed grip. Roseillier and Auté both studied at the same engineering school in France but they live in different countries, the Netherlands and Germany. Auté is a fan of Eleven but Roseillier was not interested in table tennis at the beginning of the project, according to Auté, but now that Roseillier tried their add-on he’s thinking of getting an Oculus Quest.

3d printed grip oculus touch controllers table tennis

The final result is a 3D printed racket/paddle holder that securely holds an Oculus Touch controller, while also positioning the center of gravity to more closely match a real table tennis paddle.

According to the creators the total weight is around 167 grams and keeps the controller’s buttons accessible while locked into the 3D printed mount. The tracking remains stable while in the grip, according to Auté, and it can also be used with the table tennis shakehand grip, where your index finger is placed on the back of the paddle.

The user will need to adjust the orientation of the paddle in-game — Eleven allows that kind of customization — so that it matches the offset position of the controller when placed in the grip. We contacted the developers of Eleven and they said they are planning to add a custom preset in the game that will easily adjust the orientation of the simulated paddle to work with the grip without the need for manual alignment.

3d printed table tennis grip oculus touch

They posted the 3D model for the grip and it is available free on Thinigverse, an online library where users can upload the files for 3D models they’ve created. This allows others to download the files and print the models with a 3D printer themselves. You can download the grip on the Thingiverse listing now with instructions included on the page. It works with the second generation of Oculus Touch controllers which ship with both the Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S headsets. An earlier 3D print was made by different creators for the original Oculus Rift Touch controllers.

Here’s a video of the new accessory recorded by the creators and originally posted to Reddit showing how it works:

The print requires a two M4 screws you should be able to get at a hardware store — one with a 10 mm thread length to lock the controller in place — and another with 35 mm thread length for the hinge.

A contact with a 3D printer is sending UploadVR Managing Editor Ian Hamilton two of the prints — one for a right Oculus Touch controller (same as the listing on Thingiverse) and another with a mirrored print for the left Oculus Touch controller. He’s left-handed but his family members are right-handed, so with two of the prints he and his family can use two Quests or a Quest and a Rift S to play table tennis together in their living room. Eleven’s developers say the game should minimize latency when on a shared Wi-Fi network, with a possible delay of only 2-3 milliseconds. In other words, once the prints arrive it should make for an extremely realistic game of table tennis without any physical table or ball.

Are you going to be 3D printing the grip to up your table tennis game in VR? Let us know in the comments below.

All images provided by Florian Auté from Thingiverse and Reddit and posted here with permission. Video rehosted on YouTube with permission from Auté, and the original can be found on Reddit. Managing Editor Ian Hamilton contributed to this post. 

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