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.

What sorts of things have you built with Cylon.js and Leap Motion?

hi res spheroWe use Sphero robots a lot because they’re very simple – similar to the Leap Motion itself, it’s the simplest thing you can get to work by itself, because there’s nothing in your way. Your mind is freed up because there aren’t too many things in your way to tell you how it should work.

We were at a makers conference in Poland experimenting with the Makey Makey to create a wearable interface from conductive foil and popsicle sticks to control a Sphero. Then we tried using the Leap Motion Controller. We went to the exact opposite extreme – literally from being wired into the machine to no wires at all. It really blew people’s minds because it gave them the full spectrum of human machine interaction.

But the most interesting stuff, of course, is what other people are doing with our stuff. Charlie Gerard is just super cool – her work speaks for itself.

Want to combine Leap Motion with your own robot in just a few lines of code? Check out Charlie Gerard’s blog post and GitHub repo.

With these types of early experiments, where is the Internet of Things on the evolutionary scale right now?

Five years from now, IoT will be like mobile is today. But right now, we’re in the dark ages, because nobody knows any of the rules. Robotics, Internet of things, wearables, human-machine interaction – these lines are really inconvenient, but people keep wanting to draw them because they just get really confused otherwise.

It’s interesting to see the evolution occurring really fast between these things. We take a holistic approach – the part that’s really interesting is integrating the pieces together. How can we make the things talk to each other to do something useful or interesting?

Cylon.js Platforms

A sample of the platforms that Cylon.js currently supports.

So what’s the next big step for IoT?

In a word, play. It’s so underestimated, it’s like a dirty word. But play alleviates some of the cognitive stress of doing a thing that you don’t actually know how to do instead of giving up in disgust. You give it the name “play” and it’s fine. You can do whatever you want. And at some point, you stop playing with it – you put it away, or you’ve graduated.

More and more jobs require creativity, especially as there’s more and more automation. So how can we bring that out? Sometimes it’s just playing around with something else. A lot of companies have no idea what they’re doing in this Internet-connected-devices world yet. Well of course they don’t. They haven’t thought about it. They need to play around!

On our end, we’re genuinely interested in lots of different platforms, but at any one time we want to provide fairly complete support for the things that we’re doing. We’ve got a bunch of interesting super-secret stuff that’s coming out between now and Christmas.

Any thoughts on where Cylon.js’ Leap Motion integration is headed?

We’ve only scratched the surface of the kind of 3D gestural manipulations that we can represent in the physical world. A lot of the big advantage of using something like the Leap Motion Controller is that you have this big 3D space, and using that with physical world stuff is really exciting. A lot of the demos that we’ve done are essentially two-dimensional.

Imagine combining that together with augmented reality for things like telepresence and exploring spaces that you’re not – maybe on other worlds, maybe on this world. To be honest, a lot of the stuff we’re doing now is just setting up for the future. But the future’s coming really fast.

Today and tomorrow, Ron and the Cylon.js team are at San Francisco’s Moscone Centre for the second annual Internet of Things World. They’ll be showing off state-of-the-art IoT routers from Intel and Canonical that make it easy to control Spheros, drones, audio outputs and other cool devices.

Alex Colgan is the senior director of marketing and developer community at Leap Motion. By transforming how we interact with technology, he believes we can make our world feel more human.

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