Prototype of future Oculus Touch controller lets you feel heat from campfires, chill from ice

Feeling real sensations could be the next step for a future revision of the Oculus Touch controller.


Developers at Facebook held a hack-a-thon and came up with a prototype Oculus Touch controller that lets users feel the chill of ice and heat of fire (via UploadVR).

Oculus's makeshift "Fire and Ice" team invited Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other company executives for a demonstration. The host developer passed around two Touch controllers, each connected to concealed hardware. Every executive took turns holding the peripherals while watching a pair of virtual hands on a nearby monitor.

The virtual hands hovered near a campfire. Whoever held the Touch controllers could move their hands closer to or further from the fire, triggering heating and cooling sensations. Blue and orange orbs glowed around a pair of virtual hands to convey the in-app temperature.

Images courtesy of UploadVR.

The unnamed engineer who hosted the demonstration explained that the prototype uses Peltier coolers that convert voltage to temperature. Because the device is a prototype, the engineer explained that the simulation wasn't exact. For instance, the peripherals can't grow as cold as they were at the beginning of the demonstration.

Oculus and Facebook launched the first Touch controller—along with 50 compatible games—earlier this month. As such, it's premature to speculate when the next iteration will be available or what features and upgrades it will contain.

Nevertheless, Zuckerberg and the other executives seemed excited and fascinated by the hack, which stands to increase the immersion already made possible through the combination of VR headsets and haptic controllers.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at and @davidlcraddock.

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