I’d like to take a moment to talk about a series of developments we’ve been working on specifically for virtual reality. The first set involves our existing peripheral device and new things developers can do with it starting today, while the second is a look at some of our next-generation hardware and software efforts that we’re currently building from the ground up for this exciting and emerging space.
If virtual reality is to be anything like actual reality, we believe that fast, accurate, and robust hand tracking will be absolutely essential. We believe in the concept of other specialized controllers as well, but our hands themselves are the fundamental and universal human input device.
One of the most exciting things to us about virtual reality is that our technology can be more than just your hands – it can be your eyes as well. This builds off the release of a new API which opens up raw infrared imagery straight from our sensors. When mounted directly onto a head-worn display, these images become stereoscopic windows into the world around you. What it sees, you see.
This expands the tracking space to be in any direction you’re facing. You can reach forward, turn around, look up and down, and the tracking follows you wherever you go. Because our device’s field of view exceeds that of existing VR displays, you’ll find it can start to track your hands before you even see them.
To help our community explore this paradigm with us, today we’re releasing a VR Developer Mount. Available from our online store for $19.99, the mount allows developers to easily and consistently attach and remove the Leap Motion Controller from a VR headset.
We’re also releasing a software update for our beta SDK, which includes a massively improved ‘top-down tracking’ mode, as well as Unity and C++ examples. These show how to use both the image overlays and the tracking data from a head-mounted position, then give further examples of more sophisticated 3D interactions. Thanks to major software advancements since our V2 tracking developer beta was launched in May, this is all possible with the current generation peripheral device.
At the same time, I’d like to also give a hint of what we’re working on for the future. One prototype sensor that we’re beginning to show today (and will be giving out more information on in the future) is codenamed “Dragonfly.” Designed to be embedded by VR OEMs, Dragonfly possesses greater-than-HD image resolution, color and infrared imagery, and a significantly larger field of view.
With next-generation “mega-sensors” like this, a Leap Motion device can literally become your eyes into the digital and physical realms – allowing you to seamlessly mix and mash, fade and blend, between virtual environments and the sharpness of the real world.
While motion control and virtual reality are both very new platforms, we’ve always been in awe of people’s deep and abiding passion for the dream of a digital and physical convergence. It’s this energy which drives us to work tirelessly until it is a reality.