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PlayStation gives first look at VR controllers; Facebook unveils AR wristband

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PlayStation has unveiled new controllers designed for its “next-generation virtual reality (VR) system” for PS5.

The unique design of Sony's controllers uses an “orb” shape that allows gamers to hold the controller naturally, while playing with a high degree of freedom.

It uses adaptive trigger buttons that can increase their tension depending on what’s happening on screen; advanced haptic feedback to try and make sensations in the game world more impactful, and finger touch detection which can detect a user’s fingers without any pressing.

The controller is also tracked by Sony’s new VR headset through a tracking ring across the bottom of the controller.

In a blog post, Sony said it would start supplying prototypes to game developers soon, although it did not give exact dates for when a refreshed PlayStation VR system might be released to consumers.

PlayStation’s senior vice president for platform, Hideaki Nishino, said the new hardware had been made “from the ground up” with the aim of making a “huge leap from current-gen VR gaming”.

Microsoft has also been in the spotlight this week after gamers reported error messages appearing on their Xbox consoles that mentioned VR headsets. However, the firm denied it was developing VR for the platform, attributing the messages to a “localisation bug”.

Meanwhile, Facebook has announced it is developing a wristband which has been designed to control augmented reality (AR) glasses, which are expected to launch later this year.

Wearers of the band would be able to interact with the virtual world with their finger movements, the company said in a blog post.

Contextually aware AI is being developed which will be able to understand a users’ commands and actions as well as the context and environment around them.

It will make inferences about what information a user might need or commands they might want to carry out depending on the context.

The wristband input is designed to make selecting a choice effortless by letting users interact with virtual, always-available buttons through slight finger movements.

This marks an escalation of Facebook’s interest in a hotly contested race among tech giants including Apple, Amazon and Google to develop AR devices that could eventually replace smart phones.

In September 2020, Facebook said it was about five to 10 years away from being able to bring “true” augmented reality glasses to the market.

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