Although the Leap Motion gesture controller has been on the market for several years, it still hasn’t caught on with mainstream computer users. However, in recent months, a few developers came up with a clever hack to use the device along with a virtual reality headset in a way that could, eventually, become a mainstream tool.
The Leap Motion hack uses a VR device, the Oculus Rift, to deliver a wholly unique experience: augmented reality computing.
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Created as a project for a Leap Motion hackathon, the set-up shows the user interacting with a floating menu of square computer interfaces. Later, the user accesses a calendar app via a floating menu of circular buttons that appears to include options for phone calls, email, chat and video.
The dynamic interface was crafted by a team of Leap Motion software engineers who used the company’s Dragonfly prototype sensor (which includes color cameras) and the Oculus Development Kit 2.
"Can you imagine how awesome it would be if at the push of a button you could fly your virtual workspace on top of a mountain or in the middle of a lush forest?" Leap Motion software engineer Raffi Bedikian told Wired, referring to the portability of the interface.
And in addition to being to take such an augmented reality computing interface anywhere, the headset itself would essentially block out the outside world, keeping you focused on a task, but not oblivious to your surroundings.
One of the most stunning demonstrations in the video is when the user opens up an augmented reality video screen, floating in front of a normal computer display, and then begins watching video footage. It truly looks like a view of the future of computing.
Of course, this demonstration is just an experiment, and there are no announced plans to bring this to market. But considering how useful this could be to any number of professionals who rely on using computers for long stretches of time, Leap Motion might want to consider making this incredible experiment a commercial product.