Wearable Tech World Feature Article
March 26, 2015

Leap Motion Teams Up with OSVR to Bring Hand Tracking to the Headset

Virtual reality headsets are being used in various industries that include construction, emergency rescue and hospitals, but its greatest use takes place in the gaming world. Virtual reality has the ability to put a player, or gamer right into the heart of the game. While the headsets immerse you within the walls of the game, you still require a controller in order to accomplish anything.

That may all change by summer of this year. Leap Motion, Inc. is an American company that manufactures and markets a computer hardware sensor device that supports hand and finger motions as input. While it is similar to a mouse, it requires no hand contact or touching. It was announced at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show that Leap Motion would become a launch partner with OSVR.

OSVR, is the open-source VR headset consortium which has backing from Razer and Sensics, among many others. The OSVR headset immerses the user in their favorite game. To offer more gamers the opportunity to experience the exhilaration of VR-Gaming, the OSVR platform is focused on providing game engine plugins for all to use.

The OSVR virtual reality headset will be getting one of its first peripherals in the form of an optional faceplate from Leap Motion. The faceplate brings hand tracking to virtual reality projects through an embedded camera. Leap Motion‘s sensors and software are the power behind the add-on. In addition, it will allow developers to pass video from the camera on to the display, which will make it easier to give users some idea of the space around them while still wearing the headset.

While the virtual reality headset places you inside the game, you still need to know and be aware of the buttons and controls on the console style controller, which still keeps you a step away from being totally in the game. If Leap Motion's hand tracking works as it is expected to, it could make interactions in virtual reality feel even more natural without the distraction of pressing the right buttons.

This could possibly only be the first step for Leap Motion as the company said that it has big plans for integrating hand tracking technology into VR headsets. Right now Leap Motion’s solution is available as an optional faceplate in OSVR's hardware developer kit. It is unclear if the company plans to stay this route or if it will work with other companies such as Oculus to have its technology built in.

For those of you who are not familiar with Leap Motion’s technology, you can get a better understanding of how it will work by taking a glance and the following video.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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