Leap Motion wants you to go completely hands-off with VR

Nate Swanner - Aug 28, 2014, 9:00 am CST
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Leap Motion wants you to go completely hands-off with VR

Virtual Reality is a dizzying mix of pure awesome and comforting familiarity. Though you’re existing in a completely digital environment, something on the outside always keeps you tethered to reality, typically a controller. Today, Leap Motion is taking things out of your hands, possibly for good.


Leap is announcing a Developers program, which will bring their motion sensing technology to VR. A special mount allows for their small sensor to be affixed to any flat surface — even on the VR headset itself. That includes the Oculus DK1 and DK2. Though other headsets weren’t mentioned, any flat surface will do.

Leap mount

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this head-mounted Leap controller is that it senses your surrounding environment, then feeds that info to you. What it sees, digitally speaking, you see — realistically speaking. That allows your environment outside to become your environment inside, which opens more doors to manipulation, digitally speaking. Paint a room, or engage in Zombie warfare in your home. Have coffee with a friend from clear across the globe.

Though Leap can now process the macro data of your environment, it can also discover very minute details. Leap has updated their software to pick up individual movements in your hands. Each joint is now appreciated independently, whether on a desk or in your Oculus. Go ahead, reach out and actually grab something. Leap is daring you.

darpa_plan_x_oculus_rift

Tying this all in will be raw infrared images, which Developers now have access to. What Leap sees, the Developer sees as well. That makes for a realistic environment for gaming or other scenarios, like social. A stereoscopic view of the world around you can be seen, along with the movement of your hands.

Leap is also announcing a new sensor, codenamed “Dragonfly”, which is meant to be embedded right into headsets. Dragonfly is meant as a component for OEMs to use. As Leap puts it, “Dragonfly possesses greater-than-HD image resolution, color and infrared imagery, and a significantly larger field of view.”

If Leap has their way, your days of pressing buttons will be over. The concept of being truly untethered is exciting, if not a little scary. A mount for Leap sensors is available today, so expect Developers to start toying with this capability straight away.



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