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Kickstarter Begins for SteamVR Compatible etee Controller

Last week VRFocus reported on British startup TG0 and its upcoming Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign for a pair of finger tracking controllers called etee. At the time only the 3 degrees of freedom (3DoF) versions had been revealed but today the campaign has gone live and the 6DoF, SteamVR compatible versions have been unveiled.

The wireless, buttonless controllers will offer virtual reality (VR) gamers a fully immersive range of gestures, from fully tracked fingers to touch and pressure.

The Kickstarter aims to raise £45,900 GBP by its 11th May completion date, with backers able to select from the etee DevKit (3DoF) to the fully SteamVR compatible 6DoF versions. A pair of the etee DevKit controllers will set you back £199 while the Early Bird etee SteamVR version is £239 – limited to the first 100 customers. Or for those after something a little more special there’s always the etee SteamVR Ghost Edition with a translucent body for £349. If money is no object then the £3,000 tier offers a pair of etee SteamVR Ghost Edition controllers which will have your name etched onto the PCB’s as well as one custom-made commemorative poly-framed PCB.

“I’ve never seen someone pick up an etee controller and fail to be wowed,” said Jakub Kamecki, etee’s Head of Business Development, in a statement. “We want to share this technology and to build a community, not only of gamers but of developers, innovators and inventors. We’ve felt for a long time that etee is the future of VR control. Now we’re going to make it so.”

etee Controller Feature List:

  • etee Dev Kit is 75g / etee SteamVR will be 120g
  • Open palm gesture sensing for all fingers
  • Thumb trackpad to simulate a joystick
  • Free hand design
  • Sweat, dust and water-proof for improved hygiene and reliability
  • Long battery life (16 hours standby, up to 6h active)
  • Full Colour LED
  • Next-gen haptic feedback
  • USB port Type C
  • Bluetooth BLE and WiFi communication

Should the Kickstarter go well then TG0 estimates the etee controllers will be ready to ship to backers in December 2020. As the campaign progresses, VRFocus will report back with all the latest updates.

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TG0 to Launch Kickstarter Campaign for Finger Tracking Controller ‘etee’

When HTC Vive held its Vive Developer Jam in January one of the companies providing hardware support to participants was TG0, a specialist in tactile interface products, letting them its prototype controller called etee. Designed as a buttonless interface device for virtual reality (VR), TG0 has revealed plans to launch a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign to help bring the etee to the consumer market. 

The etee controllers will feature a full range of hand movements such as proximity, touch, gesture and pressure, so they feel as natural as possible. TG0 has achieved a buttonless design for a number of reasons, not only for elegance but also ease of use. Rather than devices like the Valve Index controllers which can be overwhelming for non-gamers with their button, stick and touchpad interfaces, the etee aims to offer VR users no matter the ability level a frictionless system.

A side benefit of the lack of buttons means the etee’s seamless, water-resistant surface is very hygienic, offering no gaps in the surface for dust, sweat and bacteria to collect. So arcades and other multi-user environments can confidently disinfect the surface every time they’re used.

“VR games need a controller that moves beyond the stale, TV remote-like devices that are prevalent today,” said etee designer Mick Lin. “etee takes us away from binary button commands into a new world of gesture, grip and touch-based controls. It delivers richer, more mesmerising interactions: the experience gamers deserve.”

Currently, the controllers you can see in the images are the 3-degrees of freedom (3DoF) units which were seen at the Vive Developer Jam and required Vive Trackers for 6DoF motion. The controller will be the first user-focused product TG0 has developed and the Kickstarter is intended to help fund development of a version with fully integrated SteamVR tracking. TG0 has confirmed several other features including 16 hours standby, 6+ active battery life; a thumb trackpad, haptic feedback and Bluetooth/WiFi communication.

TG0 hasn’t set a date for the Kickstarter launch, just that it’ll be in April. Check out the video below to see the finger tracking in action and when VRFocus has further details to share we’ll let you know.

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