Virtual reality via headsets like Oculus Rift is getting really good, but the experiences are lacking a critical facet for the most part: Your hands. Leap Motion wants to use its 3D motion sensor technology to bring your hands into the game.
Until now, Leap Motion is known primarily for its effort to create a futuristic gesture control interface for computers. The company makes a fascinating little gadget you can use to wave commands at your computer, and though it’s neat, it unfortunately falls short of the promise. Indeed, using Leap Motion’s tech to empty your trash folder feels a little short sighted.
So Leap Motion’s VR move, which is basically just a new API and a $US20 mount so you can strap the existing controller to your Oculus, is more of an official statement of intent than an entirely new idea. The company has been toying with using the 3D imaging technology for virtual reality for some time, and there have even been some hacks that integrate Leap Motions controller in conjunction with Oculus Rift.
The API basically gives devs access to the raw infrared data captured by the Leap Motion Controllers cameras. Leap Motion already has software that recognises your hands from that data, so from there, it’s just a question of getting those hands into whatever 3D word you’ve built for Oculus Rift.
Of course, we’ll have to see what people actually build with the technology. What’s more, this is hardly the only way to get your hands into VR. Everything from Kinect to Google’s Project Tango has been leveraged for exactly these types of applications. Maybe the most exiting part is that it seems like the future is catching up with the promising technology Leap Motion has already built. [Leap Motion]