• 8th Wall’s hand model tracks the palm, wrist, and hand. Developers may create apps that accurately alter virtual item attachment points on a user’s hand.
  • Hand tracking allows developers to create immersive experiences where users interact with objects using finger and hand movements.

Niantic Inc.’s web-based AR development platform, 8th Wall, has recently unveiled hand tracking with innovative features, empowering developers to build apps that can integrate virtual objects onto human hands, fingers, and wrists.

Developers will be able to go beyond simply allowing users to interact with AR holograms projected into the world by their device with simple collisions using the new Hand Tracking, and users can have virtual objects not only tracked but also attached to their hands or fingers. Developers will be able to track individual fingers and knuckles’ movement with greater precision.

8th Wall has developed its own specialized hand model, which can track the entire hand, including the palm and wrist. This enables developers to craft apps that precisely adjust attachment points for virtual objects resting on a user’s hand. The model has up to 36 attachment points that span the fingers, knuckles, wrist, and palm.

By incorporating individual fingers into web AR, users can now visit a retail website, visualize how a ring might appear on each finger, and even turn their hands to observe the ring’s rotation. The same could be said for a wristwatch, bracelets, and other accessories.

Rings, bracelets, and watches attached to the hand will automatically scale to fit the device’s view of the hand – and multiple rings can be added to the hand at different attachment points. This opens up several possibilities for brands and retailers to use the technology to preview items for sale.

In the past, watchmakers used augmented reality to show prospective buyers their products. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. collaborated with Snap Inc. to create an augmented reality view of the Galaxy Watch 3 on users’ wrists. At the same time, Seiko Epson Corp. used Instagram to create an augmented reality filter to display the Grand Seiko timepiece.

Developers can also use hand tracking to create immersive experiences where users can pick up, move, and deform objects with their fingers and hands. This unlocks numerous possibilities for gaming and education, such as interactive manipulation of molecules or puzzle-solving activities.

This update comes after 8th Wall expanded its Face Effects, initially launched in 2020, enabling enhancements to human faces. Face Effects’ expansion included iris tracking, new tools for measuring pupil distance, multi-face support, improved tracking, and enhanced filters.

These features are part of Niantic’s “Human AR,” or the ability to augment humans, allowing developers to change how humans look through their devices.

Because the 8th Wall platform was designed for browsers, these tools are available to users without downloading any apps. This means that retailers, game developers, and others can more easily reach audiences with these types of experiences. Running an AR experience requires less barrier than downloading and installing an app.