Leap Motion Goes “Hands-On” with Orion Hardware (Both Virtually, and Literally)

Virtual-Reality-NewsWhat we have come to understand about “virtual reality” is that we experience a world that is not our own: it is a digitized version of perception. We can “see” and “hear” things in a space that has been completely fabricated by a computer which might respond to what we say or how we move. Put the helmet on and turn your head to the left to see what is on your left in the virtual world. Jump—with your real feet—and the sensors will similarly make it seem like you are jumping in the virtual world.

This has long been the way we understand virtual reality but it looks like we are about to breach a new threshold. Leap Motion has just revealed a new development in virtual reality. CTO David Holz explains that with new VR headsets you will be able look at your hands and see your own hands (not a computer generated facsimile).

In this world, then, you could pick up a “virtual object” and manipulate it according to whatever programming that virtual world allows. Such is the world of Leap Motion’s new Orion project.

Leap Motion comments that Orion is, at least for now, a proof of concept: “part hardware, part software,” allowing users to expertly interact with digital content within a new system that captures the power and complexity of something as familiar as the human hand.

Of course, this means it is nowhere near ready for public use, but Holz—and his team—hope that when the beta goes live on Feb 17th, developers will be able to continue making new discoveries.

The company goes on to say, “[Orion] comes with a huge increase in the general capabilities of our tracking technology and a profound shift in the reliability guarantees of markerless motion tracking systems.”

Leap Motion continues, “We’ve unlocked lower latency. Longer range. Better and faster hand recognition. Vastly improved robustness to cluttered backgrounds and ambient light. Even applications will be faster thanks to a new API that can be used initially in Unity.”

This will be the first piece of VR technology to bring the user’s own human hands into the virtual world and Leap Motion is hoping that this beta release will help improve development within the quickly growing VR market, the hardware for which has already been estimated to reach a value of $70 billion by 2020.