At Leap Motion, we’ve been working on new resources to make developing VR/AR applications easier, including Widgets – fundamental UI building blocks for Unity. In today’s Developer Diary, Widgets team product lead Andrew Littlefield previews Arm HUD, which puts information literally within arm’s reach.

Hi everyone! With 2015 just around the corner, I thought I’d share some some insights into some exciting projects that we have in the works for the new year. Since launching our first set of test Widgets last month, we’ve continued to build on this early work, and we’ll soon be releasing an expanded set of Widgets. This is the first of several posts where I’ll be showcasing upcoming Widgets. (And, because you’re awesome, we’re including early access demos!)

We hope that you find these posts interesting, and would be very interested in your feedback, including whether you’d like to see more of this type of content in the future. Anyway, enough of the preamble, and onto our first diary entry! [Indeed! —Ed.]

The first new Widget that I’d like to showcase today is an Arm HUD – a heads-up display that’s attached to your arm inside VR space. In addition to looking really cool, it also serves as a useful UI element for locating information and controls without cluttering up what little screen real estate that’s available in the current generation of VR headsets.

Want to try for yourself? We’ve just released an example showing an early alpha version of the Arm HUD to communicate state and settings associated with a VR Planetarium (another upcoming project). While it’s not yet polished enough for full release, we’d love to know what you think of it. You can download it here:

DOWNLOAD NOW »

One of the coolest things about the Arm HUD is that it can change functionality based on the orientation of your arm. If you hold your arm like you’re checking a wristwatch, you’ll see the current settings associated with the VR planetarium. Here’s a screenshot from the demo, including 3D VR effects:

arm-hud-arm

If you hold your arm with the inside of your wrist facing towards you, the HUD displays a number of settings that you can change by pressing various buttons and sliders.

arm-hud-palm

This Widget is completely customizable, so that you will be able to use this super awesome UI [if we do say so ourselves! —Ed.] in your own applications with a minimum of hassle. Plus, to reduce the overhead associated with integrating this Widget into your code, we’ll be introducing a new events model and integrating this Widget into the Unity 4.6 UI Framework.

It’s important to know that the new Widgets and the framework surrounding them are still a work in progress. There’s lots of testing ahead, and we don’t want you have to code against a constantly changing set of APIs and assets, so we’ll begin to release the full source code packages in January. In the meantime, we have lots more to showcase over the next few weeks, as we continue to work on joystick widgets, the VR Planetarium demo application, date selectors, and the new event model. See you next time!

Andrew is a Senior Product Manager at Leap Motion. Prior to joining Leap Motion, he founded two companies focused on delivering virtual environment experiences.