Motion Control

Leap Motion just updated to meet the HTC Vive head-on

Leap Motion just updated to meet the HTC Vive head-on

This afternoon the folks at Leap Motion have delivered an update to their VR headset mount hardware - and the software therein. They've made it possible to use the Leap Motion motion tracking device to put your hands in the virtual reality universe. This - you might be thinking - isn't strictly new. You're right. What IS new is the ability to see your hands and work with your hands at the same time as you're using the HTC Vive's wireless controllers.

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Let’s See: Live Motion Capture VR

Let’s See: Live Motion Capture VR

Now that we've got the first consumer-level VR headsets out in the wild, it's only a matter of time before we see full motion capture immersion. What I mean is when you see someone inside the virtual world, you'll see their whole body. Their face will reflect what's actually being shown on their actual head in real time. Their body will be represented by a reasonably reconstructed virtual version of their real form. All we need is faster internet and the world's best GPUs.

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This drone is controlled by an Apple Watch’s motion sensors

This drone is controlled by an Apple Watch’s motion sensors

Researchers from PVD+ in Taiwan have engineered a common looking drone to be controlled by hand movements with an Apple Watch. See it in action, one might think it's all thanks to magic or The Force. Since 2013, the researchers have been working with National Chung Hsing University on developing a programming language they've dubbed "Dong." Once the software is installed on an Apple Watch, it can recognize hand gestures and other motions and turn them into instructions to control a drone.

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Recon Jet gets Myo control as gesture band hits up HUDs

Recon Jet gets Myo control as gesture band hits up HUDs

Recon's Jet HUD is stretching its usefulness, linking up with the motion-sensing Myo armband for a more natural method of control that doesn't rely on voice. The integration uses Myo's gesture and motion tracking to quickly navigate the Jet's UI, with a range of speedy movements that can be done without falling off your bike.

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The irony: Microsoft makes depth-tracking phone while ignoring Kinect

The irony: Microsoft makes depth-tracking phone while ignoring Kinect

Microsoft may have conspicuously ignored Kinect in its Gamescon event today, going as far as to leave the motion sensor out of all three of its new Xbox One bundles, but that doesn't mean the rest of the company is giving up on clever camera tech. Microsoft Research has been working on turning a regular smartphone into a depth-camera, delivering Kinect and Google Project Tango style scanning and tracking but with a fraction of the complexity.

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Touch+ hands-on: Someone finally gets gesture control right

Touch+ hands-on: Someone finally gets gesture control right

Touchscreens work for tablets and phones, but getting your fingers involved with notebooks and PCs can be trickier, something Kickstarter success Ractiv believes it has fixed with its Touch+ motion tracking sensor bar. Eschewing the vague waving of Leap Motion, Touch+ takes a top-down approach by creating a virtual multitouch layer right on top of the keyboard. I caught up with the team behind the sensor to find out more on the path from crowdsourcing to shipping a commercial product now.

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Type-Hover-Swipe: Microsoft’s prototype gesture keyboard

Type-Hover-Swipe: Microsoft’s prototype gesture keyboard

Microsoft Research has shown off its latest work in the motion-control category: the Type-Hover-Swipe mechanical keyboard. With this device comes a keyboard equipped with small sensors between the keys that detect gestures in a mere 96 bytes, allowing for device control.

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Microsoft SurroundWeb reworks IllumiRoom for immersive web

Microsoft SurroundWeb reworks IllumiRoom for immersive web

Microsoft has given its IllumiRoom concept a makeover, with the immersive projected gaming experience evolving to deliver interactive web content that fills the living room and engages with Xbox One, Windows Phone, and Windows. Dubbed Microsoft SurroundWeb, the concept relies on the same approach of using projectors to cast digital graphics onto the surfaces of real-world objects, like the wall surrounding a TV or the coffee table in front of it, which then react to the user within that space.

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Kinect in focus: Xbox’s app chief talks Smart Homes & Cortana

Kinect in focus: Xbox’s app chief talks Smart Homes & Cortana

When you have a product like Kinect, so closely associated with gaming, how do you convince everybody else that they should be installing a motion-tracking camera in the home? Microsoft is looking to smart home technology and health, among other things, to do just that with Kinect for Windows v2, though a stealthy spread through Cortana and smartphones may be just as vital. We caught up with Microsoft’s Michael Mott, general manager of Xbox applications and developer relations, to find out how virtual assistants and home automation could make Kinect-tech the next must-have.

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Myo Jedi-armbands hooked up to Oculus Rift, robots and more

Myo Jedi-armbands hooked up to Oculus Rift, robots and more

Motion-tracking startup Thalmic Labs has been showing off what its early developers can do with a muscle-reading Myo armband and a little imagination, with the new peripheral already integrated with Oculus Rift, capable of remotely controlling mean-looking robots, and more. The company isn't planning to ship broadly until midway through this year, but its Myo Alpha Developers program is underway, and already the ideas are proving diverse.

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iRing hands-on: motion control for iOS

iRing hands-on: motion control for iOS

The folks at IK Multimedia have created a new accessory for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch that brings motion control to iOS. While you’re not going to just be able to jump in and have motion control abilities with this set of two rings for every single app and the entirety of iOS for start to finish - at least not at first - you will be able to work with some rather interesting sound-system software and a simple Pong game right out of the box.

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PrioVR full-body motion controller hands-on: Nunchucks and headbands

PrioVR full-body motion controller hands-on: Nunchucks and headbands

If wearables is one of the biggest fads at CES 2014, PrioVR’s video game controller setup must be the most all-inclusive. Working with sensors on the arms, wrists, torso, and head, along with a couple of Nintendo Wii Nunchucks - one for each hand - this setup from YEI Technology allows you to be fully immersed in the game you’re playing. First-person shooters, anyone?

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