I’m pleased to announce that the next generation of Leap Motion tracking (Version 2) is now in public beta for developers.

V2 retains the speed and positional accuracy found in V1, but the software also now tracks the actual joints and bones inside each of the user’s fingers. This leads to some immediate benefits over V1:

  • Finger and hand labels – every finger, hand, and joint now has anatomical labels like ‘pinky’, ‘left hand’, and ‘proximal phalanges’
  • Occlusion robustness – fingers are tracked even when they’re not seen by the controller, as might happen if you turned your hands completely vertically or intertwined the fingers of your left and right hands
  • Massively improved resistance to ambient infrared light – sunlight, powerful halogens, etc.
  • Much more granular data for developers about the user’s hands and fingers – 27 dimensions per hand, in addition to special parameters like grab/pinch APIs

V2 is a free software update and no new hardware will be required.

Our vision has always been to let people do more with technology – so we can reach into the screen and interact with applications on our devices in the same way we interact with the physical world every day.

This means taking things like sculpting a lump of clay, snapping together building blocks, or learning to play an instrument – the types of actions 99% of people just won’t or can’t do on a computer with traditional input devices – and making them possible and instantly accessible to anyone who knows how to do them with their physical hands in the real world.

V2 tracking is a critical step forward on this path: it makes it much easier for developers to build transformative applications that are consistent with this vision. This is the first of several major updates we’ll be pushing prior to the V2 consumer release to make it easier for developers to build great content.

The new tracking is the result of over a year of bleeding-edge research by our team and is a major step forward for the platform. However, there is still a great deal of work to be done – this is beta software and there are many more features that need to be added before the consumer launch, with many tracking enhancements in the pipeline – and we appreciate the developer community’s feedback as we continue to iterate and improve on it over the coming months.

Thanks so much for your support.

Michael is the CEO and co-founder of Leap Motion.