Tech

Hand Physics Lab is a smashing VR sandbox

Sometimes all it takes is some creative hand-tracking to make a VR experience worth your time.

Virtual reality is only as good as the technology and expertise that enables it, and recently, headsets like the Oculus Quest have centered on the use of new tools like hand tracking, which uses a novel camera system to replicate real-life hand motions into diegetic gameplay.

We could describe to you exactly what kind of experiences hand tracking endeavors attempt to create, or we could take the more illustrative route of showing how games like Hand Physics Lab smash, grab, and shoot their way into showing the technology's potential.

Hand Physics Lab, a downloadable VR game created by developer, Dennys Kuhnert, is part experiment and part interactive grab bag.

Through various modes of play, Kuhnert's lab allows players to experience the many possibilities hand tracking has to offer in a VR environment. The creations aren't just demonstrations, though. Some are just good old-fashioned fun, like...

Smashing glass

Target practice

Doing... this.

Hand Physics Lab is one of two games made by Holonautic, a company founded by Kuhnert and Roger Küng, who focus on combining "hard sciences," hardware, and art style with the aim of furthering VR immersion.

Holoception, the pair's other game, involves similar physics, but allows players to choose between first-person and third-person views to set off on various action-based adventures.

Holoception is more of a traditional VR game, while Hand Labs acts as a sandbox for the VR medium itself, letting players interact with VR content that isn't immediately "playable."

For instance, Hand Labs also offers users the chance to interact with different types of UI to experience menus or gestures that could theoretically be implemented in other VR or AR tools and apps.

Such demonstrations in hand tracking physics might appeal to anyone interested in VR or AR applications outside of games, i.e. AR headsets or glasses that come closer to a smartphone than a game console.

Whether you're into playing around with physics or checking out the latest in VR UI, Hand Physics Lab has options, and fortunately, if any of those interactive demonstrations pique your interest, it's currently available on Sidequest for free.

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