Leap Motion and Gesture Control for Virtual Reality Devices

10 May 2016
Lana Knight

Gesture control for virtual reality

In our experience with virtual reality, one of the most common occurring issues is deciding how to control your computer and other devices while you are ‘in the rift’. Obviously, when you are barrelling round a race track with the steering wheel of a high-powered GT car in your hands, this isn’t so much of a problem. However, if you need to take a break or switch out drivers, unless you have someone else on-hand to help, it can get a little tricky.

Virtual world, virtual control?

This is where the LEAP Motion device comes in. If you have ever seen the Tom Cruise film Minority Report, I’m sure you’ll get the idea. Basically, it is a small device that allows the user to interact with digital content in VR and AR by using their hands, i.e. gesture control.

The LEAP Motion mimics your your hand movement, traversing your gestures in real like to the virtual world seamlessly. Allowing you to interactive with your surroundings.... push buttons,pick up objects, thrown items. And that’s not all that LEAP can do: there is a growing range of fantastic games and VR experiences that are being built from the ground up with this revolutionary control in mind. Everything from virtual Jenga to a western-style duelling game where the player uses their fingers in place of a gun.

Cutting edge technology

The way that LEAP Motion integrates with Virtual Reality transforms the device from an interesting toy to a potentially groundbreaking invention.

When I first learned about LEAP Motion, what made me want to get hold of one was the virtual space station app. This is a VR experience like no other, placing you into virtual orbit with a space station full of buttons and objects that you can interact with using just your hands! As travelling into space seems a long way off for anyone that isn’t a billionaire or an astronaut, this seemed like the best way I could fulfil one of my all-time dreams - to experience zero gravity! 

Of course, this was all using the first version of the software and while developers were still learning how to make the most out of the LEAP, the team behind the device were also taking feedback from users and refining their software. This has all led up to the release of the latest version of their control software, codenamed Orion.

The Orion Beta device is even more impressive, with the improved sensing of finger position and greater accuracy in tracking your hands. This new version of the software opens up the door for truly incredible experiences like toggling individual switches in a flight simulator to the creation of new virtual musical instruments in apps like Lyra.

Looking to hire a Virtual Reality headset? Take a look at what we have to offer!

Lana Knight

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