See Stereo IR 170 Hand Tracking in Action
Back in 2019, Varjo Technologies were looking to include hand tracking as a feature in their new VR-2 Pro headset. They needed the hardware to be seamlessly integrated. As a leader in industrial-grade VR/XR headsets with human-eye resolution, Varjo also wanted the best possible hand tracking hardware to match their ultra-high quality visual fidelity.
Enter the Ultraleap Stereo IR 170 (formerly known as Rigel). Instead of using the Leap Motion Controller and a separate VR mount for hand tracking, Varjo embedded Ultraleap’s high-performance Stereo IR 170 Camera Module directly into their headset.
The combination of Ultraleap’s hand tracking software and the Stereo IR 170 Camera Module gave the VR-2 Pro gold standard hand tracking – the best anywhere in the world, embedded into Varjo’s own hardware.
How is the Stereo IR 170 different from the Leap Motion Controller?
The Stereo IR 170 is a sister to the Leap Motion Controller. Both use the same world-leading hand tracking software, but the Stereo IR 170 has a wider field of view (170x170° typical field of view, 160x160° minimum) and longer tracking range (extending from 10cm to 75cm or more).
It also has a slimmer form factor, lower power consumption, and is suitable for integration directly into customers’ hardware.
The Leap Motion Controller is still my go-to hand tracking module for many applications. However, for projects such as the VR-2 Pro where having a larger interaction zone makes a difference, when it’s desirable to embed hardware, or where form factor and power consumption really matter, the Stereo IR 170 offers an important alternative.
Meet the Stereo IR 170 Evaluation Kit for hand tracking
Previously only available to selected partners, I’m excited to announce that today we’re making the Stereo IR 170 widely available as an evaluation kit. The kit includes the Stereo IR 170 Camera Module in a plastic housing with USB header, for easy plug-and-play evaluation.
You can already find the Stereo IR 170 embedded not only in the VR-2 Pro, but also Pimax’s bespoke hand tracking module, VRgineers’ XTAL headset and Dreamcraft's Twilight Saga: Midnight Ride attraction.
The Medical Virtual Reality (MedVR) group at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies have already used the Stereo IR 170 to great effect. They integrated early prototypes with various VR headsets to build game-based applications that improve rehabilitation following stroke or brain injury.
Away from VR, award-winning experience design company Cortina Productions are using the Stereo IR 170 to develop post-pandemic interactive exhibits in museums and aquariums. "Not only can we retrofit existing installations, but we can create entirely new exhibition hardware with the Stereo IR 170 as an integrated component,” says Stephen Platenberg, Principal and Creative Director. “The larger interaction zone makes a real difference and expands the possibilities for touchless interactions."
Now it’s part of our standard hand tracking toolkit, I’m looking forward to seeing many more projects that explore the capabilities of this high-performance device.
To find out more about the Stereo IR 170 Evaluation Kit and where you can buy it, head over to our product pages.
Jonny Codling is a patented inventor with extensive experience in developing and bringing innovative products to market in the consumer electronics and automotive sectors. He wishes he had invented the human hand.