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Surreal Touch Is A 6DoF Tracked VR Controller For Apple Vision Pro

Surreal Touch Controllers for Apple Vision Pro

A startup says it will sell 6DoF tracked VR controllers for Apple Vision Pro called Surreal Touch.

Surreal Interactive was founded by Zhenfei Yang, who has eight years of experience with SLAM computer vision technology and tells UploadVR he formerly led DJI's entire robot computer vision group. Yang says his team at Surreal includes former Alphabet engineers who worked on Google Glass, Google Maps, and the Waymo self-driving car project.


Apple Vision Pro's gaze-and-pinch interaction system can feel like telekinesis at times, and makes watching media and simple interactivity a breeze. But the lack of tracked controllers makes it unsuitable for many kinds of games and experiences playable on other headsets.

Surreal Touch is a self-tracking controller designed to solve this problem. It uses two fisheye tracking cameras and an onboard chipset to determine its position in space, similar to Meta's Touch Pro controllers but with one fewer camera, and has the same design and control elements as Touch controllers including two action buttons, a thumbstick, an index trigger, and a grip trigger.

The startup is claiming less than 10mm positioning accuracy. It describes this as "unparalleled tracking", an odd claim given Meta and Valve targeted less than 1mm for their VR controllers.

visionOS simulator screenshot of Surreal Link

Surreal Touch is designed to be used either standalone on Apple Vision Pro using the startup's upcoming SDK or for PC VR via the startup's visionOS app Surreal Link, a fork of the open-source ALVR with additions such as an interface for pairing the controllers. Yang tells us the native visionOS SDK is already being tested by Open Brush contributors working on a port.

The startup's website claims Surreal Link delivers "4K 120Hz SteamVR graphics", an interesting claim given that Apple Vision Pro's displays don't support 120Hz.

But slightly questionable marketing aside, the Surreal Touch hardware itself appears to be very real. Surreal has posted two demonstration videos on their YouTube channel showing the controllers being used with Apple Vision Pro for Beat Saber and Half-Life: Alyx via a local gaming PC.

Yang tells UploadVR that Surreal plans to open preorders next month, August, at which time the price will be revealed. As for a shipping timeline, he simply says his team is "confident in our ability" to ship Surreal Touch "promptly."

Of course, making a prototype of a hardware product is relatively easy compared to mass-producing it affordably on time and at scale, and the past ten years is littered with VR startups with impressive demos and confident claims that failed to make this leap. But if Surreal can pull this off, it could make Apple Vision Pro and future Vision headsets viable for PC VR gamers and even enable a new category of visionOS apps.

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