OK, maybe not, especially without the experience of an actual ball hitting the paddle or knowing the right amount of force to apply to a swing. But Leap Motion’s hand tracking technology, combined with its Project North Star augmented reality headset, could give users an idea of what a table tennis game could feel like. And this is precisely the kind of artificial skills training that Leap Motion is trying to sell. Along with its upcoming headset, of course.
Virtual reality is already being used to orient and train employees in some industries in a safe and controlled environment. But while VR has the advantage of making that setting available anytime, anywhere, it’s still an abstraction from the real-world environment that people will need to work in. That’s where AR comes in. And not just any AR but Leap Motion’s brand of AR.
You might make fun of the North Star’s looks but you’ll probably forgive it that when you see its capabilities. Paired with the hand tracking technology that Leap Motion is known for, this is pretty much the closest we’ve gotten to stick-free AR controls. In this case, however, Leap Motion designed a special paddle controller specifically for a table tennis demo, but it pretty much uses the same principles.
Such an AR-based training system also has the advantage of being able to go forward into the future. That is, you will be able to see, virtually of course, where the ball is going or coming from, thanks to math and physics. Throw in an AI opponent and you can start your training towards becoming a novice, not a pro.
Short of having gloves with precise and localized haptic feedback, this kind of artificial skill training is the closest we’ll get to simulated but on-site training. It combines the advantage of being present in a real-world scenario, including the constraints of space, with the flexibility of augmented reality. All that’s left is for Leap Motion to actually make all of these available to the public, at least those that can afford it.