On February 12, 2023
Meta is adding the ability to directly touch menu panels and keyboards to make selections on Quest, as an alternative to the existing pointer system.
Currently, the Quest operating system allows the user to highlight menu options with a cursor that extends out of the user’s hands or controllers. The user can then make selections with either the controller trigger or by pinching their fingers together. Even though the menu panels are often within reach of the user, it’s not been possible to select options on the panels by pressing them directly.
However, as discovered by u/deliciouspotato2 on Reddit, the recent public test channel (PTC) build of the upcoming v50 Quest OS update adds the ability to directly touch menu panels with your virtual hands.
This means that users can use Touch controllers or hand tracking to directly interact with the menu, without using a pointer cursor. You can use your hands to select menu options, scroll and input text via the virtual keyboard keys. While it’s possible to connect a physical keyboard via Bluetooth to the Quest, this option should give users a more natural way to interact with the Quest’s virtual keyboard
You can view some footage of direct touch input in the Reddit post embedded above. Overall, this input option is much closer to those use in other established technologies, such as touch screen input on mobile phones. However, it still lacks the innate physical feedback you get from interacting with a real screen, so it’s still not quite the same.
The feature is listed under experimental features on PTC, meaning it likely won’t be enabled by default when v50 moves into full release. Meta’s latest Quest OS release, v49, added a new abstract home environment and a new Family Centre for increased parental control options.