Wacom, a leader in stylus pens and tablets for creative professionals, unveiled a new device late last month which was built specifically for creators looking to leverage the power of VR.
Called Wacom VR Pen, the device is a pressure sensitive stylus controller. This, the company says in its developer-focused webpage, allows users to not only draw in VR, but also with the company’s fleet of professional pen tablets for traditional 2D drawing.
One of the major obstacles in creating a VR stylus is the lack of force feedback, which makes drawing in open spaces difficult and inherently less precise.
Wacom says however its pressure-sensitive button near the pen’s tip lets users naturally alter stroke thickness depending on the amount of force used when gripping the pen, which it says recreates a “similar experience to drawing with a pen on paper.”
Wacom VR Pen also features a few other buttons, including a trigger-style grip, a rotator knob for digital tool selection, and a selector toggle on the knob itself.
There’s still plenty left to learn about Wacom VR Pen, including its standalone tracking solution; it doesn’t rely on standard VR tracking systems such as Valve’s SteamVR base stations or Oculus Insight, the onboard optical tracking solution on Oculus Rift S and Quest/Quest 2. Wacom hasn’t detailed exactly how its tracking system works yet, so we’re hoping to learn more soon.
Going with an independent tracking solution however is undoubtedly beneficial to reaching a greater number of headset users. To that effect, Wacom President and CEO Nobu Ide says in a video (linked below) that VR Pen is designed to work with “major head-mounted displays in the market.”
A strong endorsement of the company’s move towards native VR creation, Ide calls VR Pen “unlike any other pen which Wacom created before, and it will be our transition point into the next creative future.”
Wacom isn’t the first to offer a VR-specific stylus. Logitech, one of the biggest entrants and direct competitor to Wacom, has offered their $750 Logitech VR Ink stylus since early 2020, integrating SteamVR tracking into a fairly standard stylus body.
At the moment, it appears Wacom is still shopping around for partners. Interested professional users are asked to contact Wacom directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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