SteamVR is rolling out a beta for its new Skeletal Input system, which will allow developers to capture the pose of a hand and provide it as a stream of animation data that can then be used to animate the hands of the user’s avatar on its own or in combination with their own animations.
This seems to be an extension of SteamVR's input system which was first introduced back in May, giving users the ability to create their own configuration setups for controllers used with SteamVR games.
It also let developers include support for more controllers in their VR titles without changing anything within the game itself.
As outlined in a blog post, the Skeletal Input system provides two animation streams to applications for each controller, where one stream tracks the pose of a user's hand, usually while the controller is being held.
The other provides a range of motion for the hand as if there were no controller in the way (ideal for when the user isn't holding anything in-game).
Developers have the option to convert either data stream to additive animation, which is useful to developers because it can be layered on top of other animations to provide additional, more dynamic motion.
The beta currently supports Vive Wands, Oculus Touch, and the Knuckles EV2 controllers, and a full SDK will be released in the future. For now, Unity developers can access the Skeletal Input API through the SteamVR Unity plugin.
Interested developers can read more about the beta here.