The experimental hand tracking playground, Hand Physics Lab, is moving to a full release on the Oculus Store for Oculus Quest, after being available to sideload for almost a year. No release date was provided at this time.
The app launched in May 2020 and was only available through sideloading. Yesterday, developers Holonautic confirmed that the experience will soon be available on the official Quest store, meaning that anyone will be able to find, download, and play with the app without having to use SideQuest or App Lab.
— Hand Physics Lab 🙌 (@HandPhysicsLab) March 17, 2021
The Hand Physics Lab is less of a game and more of a sandbox-style playground environment offering a variety of activities and interactions centered around hand tracking. It’s essentially a showcase of the current capabilities and limitations of hand tracking on the standalone Quest headset. It serves a similar purpose to Facebook’s introductory app, First Steps, that gets you acquainted with your Touch controllers and the basics of VR.
Using just your hands you can manipulate blocks, color eggs, finger paint, use the force, and much more. There’s a variety of scenes for the user to switch between, each offering a new use of hand tracking to play around with. Last October, the experience received a major update that added existing interactions and added some brand new ones as well.
The Oculus Quest received experimental hand tracking back in December of 2019. Since then, the feature has moved from experimental to full release, however support has been a mixed bag. While some games have added optional hand tracking support that work relatively well, there has yet to be a breakthrough app that provides a truly stellar hand tracking experience. Even apps specifically designed for hand tracking such as Hand Physics Lab or Elixir are still working within the limitations of the Quest hardware, which doesn’t quite have first-in-class hand tracking support just yet.
There’s no word on when exactly Hand Physics Lab will arrive on the Oculus Store, nor any details of whether the app will move to a paid pricing model. Previously, the experience was free to sideload via SideQuest.