Leap Motion promised on giving a novel way of interacting with the computer.Instead of pressing buttons or touching the screen, you wave your hand over a small aluminium bar. You can best think of it as a touchscreen without the touch. Ever since the movie “Minority Report”, having this type of interface was the dream of a lot of tech-peopleThey announced their device with the promise of being accurate to within 1/100 of a millimetre and being the first device to track every of your 10 fingers. But take a look for yourself at their announcement video:
On may 2012 I couldn’t withstand the urge of having the promised experience and ordered my Leap Motion for 80 $ on their website ( Leap Motion ). After some delays, I finally got the device delivered to Germany on July 2013 and what could I say; the Leap Motion was inaccurate, buggy and simply unfinished. It was possible to see the potential, but with good VR far away(the oculus dev kit 1 was only out for 6 month), I was unable to be satisfied with it. But see for yourself.
Missing their sales target, sadly they had to fire 10 % of its employees, but they made a big turnaround; On April 2014, they released a software update, to implement the version 2 of their tracking software.This was a giant “leap” for this device and gave hope back again for everyone who loved the idea of it. The tracking was finally more accurate and more robust. Fingers no longer disappeared so often when being behind another finger.
Now not only the idea, but also the implementation started to let the hype begin once again. Around the same time, the Dev Kit 2 from Oculus came into the hands of developers around the world, including me. Having both devices on the desk, it was completely clear what to do with it –combine them and make virtual reality tangible.
The team around the founders David Holz & Michael Buckwald made a clever decision by supporting this idea with a VR Mount for the DK2. Instead of using this mount, you could also just glue it to your DK2 like I did. Seeing your own hands in Virtual Reality was just impressive, this feeling of presence was unknown before to me. Counting your fingers in Virtual Reality and throwing things there was brilliant. But when there light, there must be darkness somewhere. The came in the inaccuracy of tracking sometimes. As said, it was drastically better than in Version 1, but far far away from being perfect.
In the beginning of the year 2015, I was forced to sell my DK2 and so I was back with Leap Motion on the normal desktop. This became boring very quickly, so I neglected it soon after. Out of surprise for everyone, Leap Motion released yet another software update, called Orion. They now focused on VR completely and impressed the whole VR-Community with their much enhanced tracking of fingers. I was blown away and couldn’t wait to try it on my own (fingers). But not having a DK2 to use it, hindered me in doing so. The idea came to my mind, that I have the Gear VR and maybe I could use this to try it out. So I used the app “Trinus VR ” to mirror my computer screen on my Gear VR and then attach the Leap to it. I couldn’t look around in the world anymore, but I was able to see my hands just in front of me. The tracking was accurate und robust. I was able to pick things up, throwing them and placing them on one another. So now, after all the problems on this way, we are here, using our hands to reach into another world. It really is a leap in Virtual Reality.
Leap Motion is developing Android support at the moment, it is based on their V2 Desktop for the moment, but with the growing success of mobile VR, we can be dead sure they are planning a full Android support in the future.
For now the problem is the missing data port on the Gear Vr Consumer Version, so only wireless would be a viable option at the moment.
Lets see what Leap have up their sleeves for mobile.
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