August 29, 2014 weblog
Leap Motion offers VR mount for hand recognition device, reveals plans for better VR experience
Leap Motion, maker of a device that sits on a desk to capture hand movements (to replace the mouse, joystick, etc.) has announced that it is now offering a mounting apparatus that allows for connecting its recognition device directly to head-worn virtual reality gear such as the Oculus Rift. The mounting hardware also comes with an updated SDK kit to allow for the new perspective offered by the recognition device.
With the announcement, Leap Motion has declared its intention to be a part of the virtual reality movement—they want gamers (or other users) to use their hand recognition device to manipulate virtual objects, rather than using a keyboard, mouse or other controller. The Leap Motion device (which is clearly still in need of a name) has been used by developers as part of virtual reality systems, but its application has been awkward and ad hoc—some allow the hand recognition device to lay on a desk or table, others have attempted to attach the device directly to their headsets, which has led to mixed results. With their announcement, Leap Motion is clearly trying to make the process easier for developers.
When the recognition device is used as part of a virtual reality experience, the user's hands are rendered and shown on the screen, allowing for use in manipulating virtual objects. While most report the response time of the onscreen hands is nearly instantaneous, use of the device has been limited to low resolution (in black and white) and sometimes glitches—putting the device on the headset would seem to make the system more accurate and usable.
But, that's not the end of the story, the company has also announced that it is working on a next generation hand recognition device designed specifically for virtual reality systems. The prototype has been given the name Dragonfly, and will also be attachable or built directly into a headset—it is expected to offer a wider range of hand and arm recognition along with color cameras to allow for more natural-looking virtually replicated hands. Notably, both devices could also be used as part of a heads-up display, adding virtually rendered hand movement to augmented reality screens.
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