When the Oculus Rift shipped way back in March, it was missing something the competition already had: VR controllers. Well, they’re missing no more—the Oculus Touch controllers are finally here, and we got our grubby paws all over them. Each Touch controller packs 24 IR LEDs for tracking, three buttons, two triggers, a joystick, and a “thumb rest” capacitive sensor. This combination of inputs far outpaces the Sony Move or HTC Vive controllers, allowing the Rift to track thumb, forefinger, and hand position. The Touch controllers may share some silicon with last year’s Steam controller, and some of the aesthetics of an Xbox controller—but it’s a beast all of its own.

Oculus Touch teardown

Oculus Touch Teardown Highlights:

  • Each Touch controller is powered by a single (non-rechargeable) AA battery. Luckily, you can easily swap this for a rechargeable one when the time comes.
  • The ring portion of each controller contains 22 infrared LEDs, and the top button cable contains another pair, giving each controller 24 tracking points. The LED pattern and not-quite-round shape of each controller ought to tell the sensor left from right—even after you’ve crossed your arms while playing Disappointed Parent Simulator 2016.
  • The passive “thumb rest” button is a capacitive sensor that tracks touch and “near touch”—which translates to thumb position in-game, allowing for thumbs-ups. 👍  (Or likes?)
  • The controllers are cleverly designed, but seem to contain a constellation of mature, existing technologies—and they aren’t nearly as complicated as their companion headset. Our tea-leaf reading of the internals didn’t provide any clues as to what prompted the delayed release.
  • The Oculus Touch controllers earned a 5 out of 10 on our repairability scale due to an easily-accessible AA battery, intense adhesive, and a complex construction.

Kevin likes long walks along the beach, bubble baths, and puppies.

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