Leap Motion Update Improves Physics, Supports Rift And Vive Controllers

by Jamie Feltham • June 8th, 2017

Fully functioning hand-tracking might be a ways off from becoming the standard form of VR input, but Leap Motion is making a big step toward that future today, taking its Interaction development engine to 1.0 and introducing some major new features.

The Interaction Engine has been available in early Beta since last year, but this full release focuses on what could be a major application for hand-tracking going forward — interfaces.

Leap Motion has built a new user interface module that allows developers to create their own accessible menus and systems that can be navigated a little like Tom Cruise navigates menus in Minority Report. Users reach out to virtual panels to press buttons and alter meters. The company is also adding support for systems like wearables and widgets, enabling wrist-mounted menus and more.

Also updated is the core physics engine, which should make using Leap Motion a much more reliable and immersive experience going forward.

Perhaps the most exciting addition to the engine, though, is Oculus Touch and Vive controller support. The combination of these two technologies is very interesting. Touch also has basic gesture recognition but imagine being able to hold a controller and still extend a finger to press a button.

The company has also launched a new Graphic Renderer that can curve the user interface and render it in one draw call. This is specifically aimed at mobile and standalone headsets.

Leap Motion’s hand-tracking technology has existed for years, but found a new lease of life in VR. We’ve seen the company’s tech integrated into Qualcomm’s reference design for standalone VR headsets though. Now that Google has partnered with Qualcomm for its WorldSense devices, we’re not sure if what role Leap Motion will play in them.

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  • NooYawker

    They should change their name so they don’t get confused with Magic Leap and think they’re full of crap. But as much as I like Leap Motions product, I’ve used their commercial product and it’s very cool., the question of feedback is an issue in VR. It’s a huge part of immersion in VR.

  • BlogaBlingaDonga

    Big question for me is whats is the fov angle? Full integration with controllers means hand tracking at 360 regardless of headset angle? Those boundary conditions are very important. I have maybe 2 year old leap motion and it’s really cool, but loses tracking of fingers and hand orientation too easily. Bleeding edge, wasn’t ready for consumer use. This upgrade looks like they’re going directly where they need to. Need integration with nextgen headset. No extra cabe please.

    • Rogue Transfer

      The latest one in Qualcomm’s reference design is sporting 180° FOV.

      • BlogaBlingaDonga

        Thanks, 180 sounds closer to full tracking than my older model, which was ~140×120. I’m definitely interested in buying and testing their new equipment. I’m thinking of angle of headset vs. where your arms/hands are positioned: If looking left (chin to left shoulder) while holding your hands perpendicular to your body, the left hand will be right at the edge of fov, and your right hand will be completely out. Using touch controller sensors mixed with their front camera, they can hopefully go over the 180 limit. Sorry for pedantic rambling, just making mental notes.

  • daveinpublic

    I got a leap motion accessory about 6 years ago or so, wasn’t my best purchase. Was slow, and didn’t all my to do anything on my computer outside of using their app, which had a couple of simple games with parlor tricks. Oh, and it didn’t work well, at all. Here’s hoping they don’t treat their future customers like they treated their past ones.