When the Leap Motion Controller made its rounds at our office a couple of years ago, it’s safe to say we were blown away. For me at least, it was something from the future. I was able to physically interact with my computer, moving an object on the screen with the motion of my hands. And that was amazing.

Fast-forward two years, and we’ve found that PubNub has a place in the Internet of Things… a big place. To put it simply, PubNub streams data bidirectionally to control and monitor connected IoT devices. PubNub is a glue that holds any number of connected devices together – making it easy to rapidly build and scale real-time IoT, mobile, and web apps by providing the data stream infrastructure, connections, and key building blocks that developers need for real-time interactivity.

With that in mind, two of our evangelists had the idea to combine the power of Leap Motion with the brains of a Raspberry Pi to create motion-controlled servos. In a nutshell, the application enables a user to control servos using motions from their hands and fingers. Whatever motion their hand makes, the servo mirrors it. And even cooler, because we used PubNub to connect the Leap Motion to the Raspberry Pi, we can control our servos from anywhere on Earth.

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As the 3D Jam approaches, developers around the globe are already getting a headstart on their projects. Zach Kinstner, the creator behind Hovercast and Firework Factory, has been sharing his latest project through a series of videos – a virtual reality guitar! We caught up with Zach this week to talk about his design process, especially the guitar’s unique combination of visual depth cues.

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Looking for the perfect Unity assets for the 3D Jam? Today on the blog, we’ve handpicked six assets that will take your Leap Motion VR demo to the next level.

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Hey everyone! As part of our global tour for the Leap Motion 3D Jam, we’re at Berlin’s Game Science Centre to take developers through our SDK and building with the latest VR tools. Registrations for the workshops and meetup are still open. The livestream is happening today from 8am–1pm PT (5–10pm CET) at the top of this post – jump into our Twitch channel to join the chat session!

Ahead of the event, we thought we’d give you a quick overview of what to expect. Let’s take a light-speed look at VR development with Leap Motion in Unity and JavaScript.

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Virtual reality and the Internet of Things are fundamentally different in many ways, but they share a common goal – bringing digital experiences into the 3D world. And whether that world is a space full of physical objects, or a parallel universe of our own creation, the best 3D interfaces are the ones that have the power to become part of the environment.

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Want to reach into a VR cockpit that’s a little closer to Earth? This week, Daniel Church achieved lift-off with a successful Kickstarter campaign for his virtual reality flight simulator. FlyInside FSX is a plugin for Microsoft Flight Simulator and Prepar3D that brings you inside a completely realistic airplane flight deck.

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Ever wanted to set a course for Farpoint Station, punch your robot buddy, and push a spaceship into overdrive? Make it so. Designed as an experimental research project for hybrid interfaces, our VR Cockpit demo is now available for Windows (64-bit only) on our Developer Gallery.

The demo puts you in control using a combination of Leap Motion interaction and a fully integrated Hands On Throttle and Stick (HOTAS) control system. (Even if you don’t have a HOTAS handy, you can still use a keyboard or gamepad.) In this post, we’ll take a look at the design process behind VR Cockpit.

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We’ve come a long way since we first launched the Leap Motion Controller two years ago. Today, we’re marking the occasion by announcing our second annual 3D Jam! For six weeks, starting on Sept. 28th, developers around the world will build innovative experiences for virtual reality, desktop, mobile, and beyond.

Since we released our technology to the world, we’ve been constantly working to bring new tools and assets to developers building with the Leap Motion platform. Resources like video passthrough, Image Hands, and UI Widgets are all small but fundamental steps in building the future of VR. We can’t wait to see what kinds of experiences you can build with them.

Last year’s competition was incredible, with over 150 submissions and some really amazing titles. For 3D Jam 2015, teams will compete in two tracks – Open and AR/VR. We’re giving away over $50,000 in prizes. Entries will be accepted until November 9th, 2015 at 11:59:59 pm PST. (Full contest rules here.)

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Early last month, Leap Motion kicked off our internal hackathon with a round of pitch sessions. This basically involves everyone bouncing crazy ideas off each other to see which ones would stick. One of our tracking engineers suggested using our prototype Dragonfly module to augment a physical display with virtual widgets. Our team of five ran with this concept to create AR Screen.

You’ve probably heard the rest of the story. Our team’s video got shared on /r/oculus and led to a feature on Wired. While the Wired story focuses a lot on the experience side of things – the power of spatial thinking and offices of the future – it was light on the technical details. Since we’ve heard from a lot of VR developers interested in the project, I thought I’d do a deep dive here on the blog.

Disclaimer: Lots of ugly hackathon code ahead!

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Hackathons are a great way to jumpstart creativity, especially when honor and glory are on the line. Recently, Leap Motion kicked off one of our internal hackathons, where small teams pitch and develop quick demos over the course of two days. After one of our engineers posted a video of AR Screen – a project using the Dragonfly module prototype to create an augmented reality work environment – the video soon went viral and was later featured on Wired.

While none of the demos produced during the hackathon were intended to be polished products, we’re excited to see what these small teams were able to build over just 48 hours. Today, we thought we’d take a closer look at some other projects from the hackathon. Next week, we’ll have more to share about the AR Screen project.

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