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.