Setting Up a Gear VR Hand Controller is Simple, and Works Perfectly with Your InstaVR Generated Apps
What is the Gear VR Hand Controller?
In April, Samsung released the long-awaited Gear VR hand controller. For the 5 million+ users of the VR headset, this was great news. While many of the powerful tethered VR headsets such as HTC Vive and Oculus Rift depended on hand controllers for interactivity, mobile headsets like Google Cardboard and Gear VR were still powered by gaze-based navigation and hotspot initiation.
The announcement of the Google Daydream headset, with its portable and well-reviewed hand controller, made a Gear VR hand controller an inevitable evolution of the solution, and one that would have to come soon rather than later. Although Gear VR had a head start in terms of adoption, and was bundled with its powerful and popular Samsung Galaxy phone, the threat of Google’s large distribution platform made it so Samsung couldn’t fall behind in terms of features.
The result is a ~ $40 hand controller. It’s not the sturdiest piece of peripheral equipment, but it gets the job done.
Why Does the Gear VR Hand Controller Matter?
Hand controllers for VR are mainly important for the level of interactivity they provide. For a generation brought up on video games and computers, most of VR’s top enthusiasts are conditioned to use their hands to manipulate applications. Gaze-based navigation/hotspots are fairly intuitive — you look at a Navigation Link on a door, and get taken into that door — but having a hand controller allows you to more easily maneuver without the concentrated focus.
Hand controllers also expand the overall interactivity of a scene. It allows for dragging and dropping of objects, for instance. It also allows for more easy interactivity with Hotspots. And for Gamers, using a hand controller with the Gear VR is more intuitive. Another positive is the ability to do things like adjust volume with the hand controller. Any feature that used to be done by touching the headset is much easier and more intuitive with a hand controller.
How Do You Set Up Your Gear VR Hand Controller?
It’s fairly easy and straightforward to set up your Gear VR hand controller. A single controller can also pair to multiple Android phones, which is good if you are at say a tradeshow, and have multiple phones/headsets, but only a single controller.
The instructions can be found on the Oculus site, here. It’s as simple as:
- Opening the Oculus app on your phone
- Installing batteries in your hand controller
- Choosing if you’re right handed or left handed
Once paired up, you can use your Controller with many Samsung Gear VR games and apps. It will allow you to do things like initiate triggers, go back to home screen, or turn the volume up or down — all important features of utilizing the Gear VR!
How do I Create My Gear VR App Using InstaVR so that it is Hand Controller Friendly?
Creating a controller-friendly Gear VR app with InstaVR is the same process as creating a standard Gear VR app. Visually, the end user experience will be similar to commercial apps created for use with the Gear VR hand controller. Like with our Google Daydream publishing, the hand controller will be visually represented in the lower part of the visual field of the user. This helps orient the user when aiming the controller to interact with Navigation links, Hotspots, etc.
Further Reading on Gear VR
We’ve written pretty extensively on Gear VR. It’s a platform that’s great for tradeshows, sales presentations, immersive training, educational experiences, and more. With over 5 million units sold, if you’re investing in VR, you should strongly consider publishing to Gear VR, including the hand controller functionality.