Leap Motion Improves Our Handle on Virtual Precision

Leap Motion Improves Our Handle on Virtual Precision

The VR company's latest development lets you touch virtual worlds

Samantha Cole
  • 17 february 2016

It just got easier to imagine the near-future world where we’ll live, work and play. Today, Leap Motion unveiled Orion, a software and hardware combo that responds to hand motion in virtual and augmented reality, without donning clunky gloves or rigs.

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Over the past year, Leap Motion has built Orion “from the ground up,” a spokesperson told PSFK: It’s their first hand-tracking package that’s built native for VR.

What sets Orion apart is its lifelike tracking of your hands: In lower light, higher occlusion, more cluttered backgrounds and closer to other objects than before. In short, you’ll be able to flail your arms around in the dark surrounded by zombie space aliens, and maybe smack a few.

Michael Buckwald, Leap Motion Co-founder and CEO, writes in today’s press release:

“The holy grail of virtual reality is a sense of total presence and immersion. With Orion, we’re enabling developers and OEMs to create that type of experience. People can use their own hands and fingers to interact with digital content in VR with the same ease and nuance they use in the real world.”

leap motion

The company plans to embed Orion hardware into headsets for release to consumer markets later this year. Razer’s OSVR is the only headset currently using Leap tech—with Oculus and HTC rolling out controllers, seeing how this budding industry grapples with an empty-handed approach will be interesting. Will loosening our grip on controllers let them drift into obsoletion? Leap Motion’s spokesperson tells PSFK:

“We believe that controllers are useful in certain instances. Like tools, they’re specialized interfaces. You can imagine wanting to use a joystick as a trigger or to move forward in a game, and your hands to do more nuanced, physical interactions like throwing a grenade, nudging a door open or digging a shelter.

Hands are the universal human interface.”

Much as the Wii and Kinect hit the market with hopes to disrupt how we interact in virtual spaces nearly a decade ago, Orion’s approach might not pry the Konami codes from our sweaty palms yet—but it’s a tool anxious developers can access an Orion beta download, starting now.

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Beyond gaming, this technology could ripple through engineering and healthcare fields, where precision in dimly-lit, snarled spaces could use a virtual hand.

Leap Motion 

+human interface
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+Virtual Reality

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