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Explorations in VR Design is a journey through the bleeding edge of VR design – from architecting a space, to designing groundbreaking interactions, to making users feel powerful.

What’s the most important rule in VR? Never make your users sick. In this exploration, we’ll review the essentials of avoiding nausea, positive ergonomics, and spatial layouts for user safety and comfort.

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Explorations in VR Design is a journey through the bleeding edge of VR design – from architecting a space, to designing groundbreaking interactions, to making users feel powerful.

Last week, we saw how interactive design centers on human expectations. Of course, it also begins with the hardware and software that drives those interactions. The Leap Motion Orion software opens up two fundamental interactions – pinch and grab. Using our Unity Core Assets detectors scripts, it’s also possible to track certain hand poses, such as thumbs-up.

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Explorations in VR Design is a journey through the bleeding edge of VR design – from architecting a space, to designing groundbreaking interactions, to making users feel powerful.

In the world of design, intuition is a dangerous word. In reality, no two people have the same intuitions. Instead, we’re trained by our physical experiences and culture to have triggered responses based on our expectations. The most reliable “intuitive actions” are ones where we guide users into doing the right thing through familiarity and affordance.

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Explorations in VR Design is a journey through the bleeding edge of VR design – from architecting a space, to designing groundbreaking interactions, to making users feel powerful.

All the world’s a stage, and you are now its set designer. Click To TweetDesigning the stage where your users will play is an incredibly important part of VR. Like an architect or a set designer, you have the power to create moods and experiences through a physical environment. How you structure that space will depend entirely on how users can interact and explore it.

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Until the rise of VR, we lived on the edges of a digital universe that was trapped behind glass screens. Immensely powerful and infinitely portable, but still distant and inaccessible.

The digital is taking substance in our reality. We are its artists, architects, and storytellers. Click To TweetNow the glass is breaking. We can see and reach into new worlds, and the digital is taking substance in our reality. You are now one of its many artists, architects, sculptors, and storytellers.

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Martin Schubert is a VR Developer/Designer at Leap Motion and the creator of Weightless and Geometric.

In architecture school, we had many long discussions about things most non-designers probably never give much thought to. These always swung quickly between absurdly abstract and philosophically important, and I could never be sure which of the two was currently happening.

One of those discussions was about what makes a spoon a spoon. What is it that distinguishes a spoon from, say, a teapot? Is it the shape, a little bowl with a handle? Is it the size, able to be held in one hand? The material? Would it still be a spoon if it were 10 ft long or had sharp needles all over or if it were made of thin paper? What gives it its ‘spoonyness’?

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Breaking into VR development doesn’t need to break the bank. If you have a newer Android phone and a good gaming computer, it’s possible to prototype, test, and share your VR projects with the world using third-party software like RiftCat’s VRidge. In this post, we’ll take a look at what you’ll need to get started with PC VR development for less than $100.

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Following up on last week’s release of the Leap Motion Interaction Engine, I’m excited to share Weightless: Remastered, a major update to my project that won second place in the first-ever 3D Jam. A lot has changed since then! In this post, we’ll take a deeper look at the incredible power and versatility of the Interaction Engine, including some of the fundamental problems it’s built to address. Plus, some tips around visual feedback for weightless locomotion, and designing virtual objects that look “grabbable.”

When I made the original Weightless, there wasn’t a stellar system for grasping virtual objects with your bare hands yet. Binary pinching or closing your hand into a fist to grab didn’t seem as satisfying as gently fingertip-tapping objects around. It wasn’t really possible to do both, only one or the other.

The Interaction Engine bridges that gap – letting you boop objects around with any part of your hand, while also allowing you to grab and hold onto floating artifacts without sacrificing fidelity in either. You can now actually grab the floating Oculus DK2 and try to put it on!

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Itadakimasu (Japanese for ‘Bon Appetit’) is a therapeutic VR experience that allows users to interact with animals through different hand gestures. The focus of this piece stems from research findings that animal-assisted therapy can help decrease anxiety and reduce blood pressure in patients.

Although the experience is simple in content, my intent is that it could act as a short-term solution for people in places where owning a pet is logistically difficult.

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Game physics engines were never designed for human hands. In fact, when you bring your hands into VR, the results can be dramatic. Grabbing an object in your hand or squishing it against the floor, you send it flying as the physics engine desperately tries to keep your fingers out of it.

But by exploring the grey areas between real-world and digital physics, we can build a more human experience. One where you can reach out and grab something – a block, a teapot, a planet – and simply pick it up. Your fingers phase through the material, but the object still feels real. Like it has weight.

By exploring grey areas between real-world and digital physics, we can build a more human experience. Click To TweetBeneath the surface, this is an enormously complex challenge. Over the last several months, we’ve been boiling that complexity down to a fundamental tool that Unity developers can rapidly build with. Today we’re excited to share an early access beta of our Interaction Engine, now available as a Module for our Unity Core Assets.

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