Tomorrow in Montreal, audience members at the IX Symposium will see one of Jupiter’s moons appear inside a 60-foot dome. But this isn’t something you can find in a telescope – it’s a trippy virtual environment with stark geometric shapes and classical forms.

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Interaction design can be a delicate balancing act, especially when developing for VR. In the process of building applications and various UX experiments at Leap Motion, we’ve come up with a useful set of heuristics to help us critically evaluate our gesture and interaction designs. You can see these lenses in action in our Planetarium series, where we experimented with bringing together several different UI widgets.

It’s important to note that these heuristics exist as lenses through which to critique and examine an interaction, not as hard and fast rules.

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VR is a double-edged sword. While many experiences can feel like a digital wonderland, one misstep can create a nausea-inducing assault on the senses. At a recent Designers + Geeks talk, Jody Medich and Daniel Plemmons talked about some of the discoveries our team has made (and the VR best practices we’ve developed) while building VR experiences with the Oculus Rift and the Leap Motion Controller.

Here are some of the essential insights they want you to know about designing VR tools and experiences:

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ardrone

Following my tutorial on controlling the Sphero using the Leap Motion, I thought I would keep on converting my Node.js projects to Cylon.js and work on controlling an AR.Drone with Leap Motion.

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One of the most powerful things about the Leap Motion platform is its ability to tie into just about any creative platform. That’s why we created a Platform Integrations & Libraries showcase where you can discover the latest wrappers, plugins, and integrations.

Cylon.js is a JavaScript framework for robotics, physical computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT) that makes it easy to network 36 different platforms (and counting). On our Developer Gallery, you can find example projects to help you get started with wirelessly controlled Arduino boards and Parrot AR.Drones. Recently, we got in touch with Ron Evans, the creator of Cylon.js and other open source robotics frameworks, about the emerging IoT revolution.

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In my personal time, I love to play around with hardware and robots. I started in Node.js but recently I discovered Cylon.js and after a quick play around with it, I found it pretty awesome and decided to rewrite my projects using this framework.

As a starting point, I decided to rewrite the project to control the Sphero with the Leap Motion Controller.

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One of the most powerful things about the Leap Motion platform is its ability to tie into just about any creative platform. That’s why we’ve just launched a Platform Integrations & Libraries showcase where you can discover the latest wrappers, plugins, and integrations.

Our first featured integration is Vuo, an extraordinarily flexible visual programming language for developers and designers. There are already 6 Vuo examples for on our Developer Gallery, which include Mac executables and project files – so you can download, import, and see how they all fit together. Recently, we caught up with Jaymie Strecker, one of the key developers on Team Vuo.

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We at Thomas Street have been eyeing the Oculus Rift for quite some time, paying particular attention to demos featuring novel interfaces. We all grew tired of talking about how we wanted to explore VR development, so we allocated several weeks to tinkering with the Oculus Rift and Leap Motion— staffing one full-time developer and a few designers part-time. The goal was to build a cohesive VR interface that plays nicely with both hardware’s current limitations. The Minority Report interface ain’t gonna build itself.

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A few weeks back, a first-person immersive animation experiment hit reddit. True to form, the ever-investigative VR community immediately began unpacking the possibilities a tool like this could bring to the field of animation. Does virtual reality have the potential to unlock new technical and artistic workflows? What new freedoms (or constraints) does it offer creative professionals? Could this proof of concept be transformed into actual software in the near future?

It didn’t take long for Jere Nevalainen, aka /u/Sonicus, to reveal himself as the Master’s student behind the prototype – a thesis project he’s completing within Aalto University’s Department of Computer Science.

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