Etee expects to start shipping its first batch of button-free VR controllers “in the next two months.”
Community & Business Development Manager Stephen Prior — also known as VR Bug — confirmed as much to the Between Realities team covering AWE 2022 for UploadVR last week (video to come). Prior explained that Etee had run into production issues due to the ongoing component shortage, but was now catching up with its first orders for Kickstarter backers.
“We’re in production right now and we’re expecting to ship in the next two months to our backers. We’re extremely fortunate, we have a good, understanding community that’s been behind us all the way. So we’ve got about 400 units that we’ll be shipping out in the next couple of months. And we’re having another production run later in the year for more pre-orders to fulfill those as well.”
Etee raised around $113,500 on Kickstarter last year. Most VR headsets and apps require two hand-tracked controllers with buttons similar to gamepads for consoles, and we’re starting to see the rise of controller-free hand-tracked apps too. Etee is unique in that it’s a physical controller with no buttons, though it does have a trackpad for your thumb at the top. The kit can sense your fingers for control similar to hand-tracking, but you’ll still be holding a physical object. We first went hands-on with the kit at CES in 2020.
The company says that, by recognizing specific gestures and identifying them as button presses from an HTC Vive controller, you can play the full range of SteamVR games with the device. We’ll be keen to test that out in the future. For now, pre-orders are still running with a 3DOF version costing around $250 and a 6DOF version fitted with a SteamVR tracker at around $325.
Did you back Etee and, if so, are you looking forward to trying the controllers out? Let us know in the comments below!