This week’s newsletter features the latest SDK update, which restored background app support, and more details about the ship date update and beta program. We also have a thought-provoking post about content navigation, plus the latest and greatest code samples, UI elements, and app trailers.

But before we jump into the newsletter, we’d like to extend a big thanks to the entire developer community for your hard work and support. You are a fundamental part of our mission to transform how we interact with our devices – we couldn’t do it without you.

Featured News

Ship date update and beta program

On Thursday, Michael Buckwald announced that the ship date for Leap Motion Controller pre-orders would be pushed back to July 22. Starting in June, we’ll be moving to the next stage of our beta test program, which will grant developers access to the feature-complete product, including OS interaction. To learn more, you can read a transcript of Michael and David Holz’s Ustream Q&A session on our blog.

In order to get your app into the next phase of the beta program, please submit your apps as soon as possible, to ensure we have enough time to review them all. We’ll be releasing more details about the next stage of the beta soon.

SDK 0.7.9 has increased accuracy, background app support

The latest update to the SDK has a lot to offer, from major bug fixes and digitally signed binaries, to improved tracking accuracy by 1.5x when hands are more than 20 cm above the controller. We’ve also established full support for background applications. Learn more.

Thinking in Motion: Content Navigation

For years, special effects professionals have piqued our interest with scenes where their stars control vast expanses of digital content in midair. The Leap Motion Controller is helping make these Hollywood visions a reality – we’re already seeing some incredible examples of how developers are unlocking new ways of interacting with content, whether that be photos, videos, articles or anything else. You can check out the full post on the forum; here are the highlights:

a. Find the sweet spot between responsiveness and control. Remember to test and tweak repeatedly – small differences will either make or break users’ experience with your software.

b. Draw on physical interactions for inspiration. Consider momentum and physics when mapping gestures to content, creating an appealing and polished sense of control that also compels users to interact gracefully with your application.

c. Provide contextual cues to guide user interactions. In addition to full-fledged tutorials, providing simple contextual cues or hints throughout your application can be just enough to empower users to master your software.

We’ve captured a few examples from the community of some slick content navigation. Be sure to check out the high-res version for more details.


Above: (1) Huge, Inc. has developed AirReader, which lets users navigate through articles from their favorite RSS feeds. (2) Superhuman’s VALT is a music video explorer that presents videos as if they were projected onto a large geodesic dome. (3) PhotoScape by 9elements features a number of different views for users’ photo streams, including a ‘Time Machine’ that lets you fly backwards/forwards through time.

What are some other content navigating techniques out there? Are there any from a movie scene that you’d like to see brought to life? Post your screenshots and videos on our content navigation thread.

Community Toolkit

Looking for a general-purpose Java library for the Leap Motion Controller? Cervator’s Jitter includes high-level hooks for circle gestures, and also allows you to buffer input from the Leap Motion Controller, so that your software can process input at its own FPS rate.

jeffreychien posted an extensive tutorial about the space shooter game that he developed for the Leap Motion Controller using Slick2d for Java.

BradLarson’s source code for Molecules offers more than just the ability to manipulate your favorite chemical compounds – it also has some great code for zooming, rotation, and translation in 3D space. Check out these Objective-C UI elements on GitHub.

To see the latest UI elements and sample code shared by the community, go to the example tag on the Links & Libraries page. You can share your code on the Projects & Collaborations forum.

Forum Highlights

Last week, developers took the opportunity to #LeapInto Google Earth with the Leap Motion Controller, and posted videos of their journeys around the world. Below are a few more of our favorite destinations: Dubai, London, Orlando, and Sweden. To create your own video, pick a spot to fly around, record your hands controlling Google Earth, post it, and let us know with the hashtag #LeapInto __ (insert location). We’ll add your #LeapInto video to our YouTube Playlist.

#LeapInto Dubai#LeapInto London#LeapInto Orlando#LeapInto Sweden

Pinobo’s latest trailer showcases the possibilities of combining their social boards with the Leap Motion Controller – so you can collect, decorate, and share your ideas with a wave of your hand.

Pinobo with the Leap Motion Controller

Yanko Oliveira’s newest teaser trailer for his casual rhythm game Octorhythm has a hilariously tongue-in-cheek, retro-futuristic style.

Octorhythm for the Leap Motion Controller

Developer Events

Are you giving a Leap Motion controller demo, or looking to meet and collaborate with other developers? We’d love to hear about it. Post your event notices in the Events & Meetups forum.