FlipVR VR controller lets you interact with virtual reality and the real world


Image: Shiftall

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A Panasonic foldable controller makes it easy to access the keyboard or cups.

The Panasonic subsidiary “Shiftall” once again shows its willingness to experiment. At CES 2023, the company is showcasing the super lightweight MeganeX PC VR headset and HaritoraX Wireless full-body tracking solution (see below). Quirky gadgets like Mutalk are also on display. It is a Bluetooth microphone in a mask that is worn over the mouth and suppresses speech noise. That looks interesting.

What would your partner, family or friends say about a Mutalk in your face? | Image: Shiftall

The most attractive piece is a convertible VR controller for tracking SteamVR’s flagship. FlipVR has regular analog sticks and buttons, like many other VR headset controllers. However, the highlight is its transformability. By moving the wrist, FlipVR controls can be transferred to the back of the hand in the blink of an eye.

Switch from hands-free operation to VR controller and back again

On the back of the hand, the controllers no longer get in the way when the user wants to quickly operate the keyboard or grab a drink in between.

Shiftall shows a DJ spinning real records in between as a use case. VR DJs, like in the social app VRChat, could seamlessly integrate vinyl tracks into a digital set.

Transforming back into a controller also literally works in the blink of an eye. Controls include a total of four buttons, two system buttons, two analog sticks, two triggers, a grip button, and touch sensors on the buttons, sticks, and triggers.

Since the controllers are firmly attached to the hands via Velcro, VR apps can still detect the position of the wrists and replicate it in VR, even if players are picking up something in the real world. You can see the controller and other accessories in the video below.

The folding function is not the only special thing about FlipVR. People with different sized hands adjust the position and angle of the control surface to suit the shape of their hand. This makes it very comfortable to use, even for long periods of time, according to Shiftall.

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Charging via USB-C powers the VR controllers for over seven hours. The price has not yet been set. Controllers are expected to be released later this year.

Full Body Tracking with HaritoraX Wireless

The “HaritoraX Wireless” Full Body Tracking Set, also presented at CES 2023, differs from the “HaritoraX 1.1” model mainly in its wireless operation. The six compact body trackers weigh 17 grams each and last around 20 hours on a USB-C charge. Users can expand them with additional expansion sets. Up to eleven trackers are supported simultaneously.

Ein kleines Körpertracker-Kästchen von HoritoraX auf einer deutlich größeren Handfläche

The dimensions of Haritora are much more compact than other trackers. | Image: Shiftall

Accelerometers, gyroscopes and compass sensors (nine-axis IMU), as well as a distance sensor (at the ankles only) are used for tracking. The system does not use external optical sensors and can be worn under clothing.

The trackers are compatible with applications such as VRChat, NeosVR, VirtualCast, Virtual Motion Capture, Cluster and ChilloutVR. A pre-sale priced at $349 will begin in February 2023, with shipping to follow in June.

Sony recently introduced Mocopi, a similar low-cost full-body tracker that’s available for pre-order in Japan.


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