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These 5 Leap Motion Projects Show How Far Hand Tracking Has Come

by Joe Durbin • March 1st, 2016

Leap Motion’s Orion software update for its hand tracking peripheral is just over a week old. The revamp greatly improves the device’s ability to see your hands and translate their motions into virtual or augmented reality experiences. The days of controller-free VR may be closer than we think as Leap Motion plans on integrating its technology into upcoming headsets. These five developers are building some amazing hand tracking experiences that take full advantage of Leap Motion’s possibilities.

Warlock VR

Warlock VR was the second place winner for Leap Motion’s 3D game jam in 2015. The title comes from Abnormalia Studios and its gameplay involves using hand gestures to cast a myriad of different magical spells. Abnormalia also created a multiplayer version of the game titled Warlock Battle. Both titles are available for download now through Leap Motion’s developer gallery and both are terrific demonstrations of the way VR games can benefit from natural hand tracking technology.

Lyra VR

Lyra VR is a VR music creation program that allows you to build melodies through touching “nodes” with your Leap Motion tracked hands. The above video shows the experience before Orion came into the picture, but Leap Motion’s web page shows it functioning more fluidly after a solid dose of Orion. The updated experience now allows you to more easily grab nodes, press buttons and create the music of your virtual dreams.

Geometric

Geometric is an offering from Leap Motion itself. The demo video shows the tight precision and minute motions that are capable through Orion. Your hands are no longer large paddles in VR that are only capable of pushing or indicating in broad strokes. An index finger is now all it takes to flip a switch or trigger an effect. This innovation may lead to long-desired applications such as VR keyboards becoming possibilities.

AltspaceVR

There’s a reason the phrase “talking with your hands” exists and AltspaceVR’s social nature makes it an experience that can particularly benefit from software like Orion. The above video shows AltspaceVR’s Leap Motion natural hand tracking before and after the Orion update. The current version allows hands that are far more expressive and communicative then they were before. The addition of more articulated hand gestures in social VR is a huge step toward realistic virtual interactions.

Blocks

No conversation concerning Orion-powered experiences would be complete without mentioning Blocks. The update’s flagship experience is as heavily emphasized as it is for a reason. The demo shows just how potent the device’s updated software is. From finger-specific gesture tracking to precise object interaction and realistic physics, Blocks is a simple, but endlessly applicable demonstration of what natural hand tracking is capable of in a post-Orion world.