How has your virtual reality (VR) experience been to date? Those who are old enough would definitely be able to remember the cringe-worthy Virtual Boy, a device that is more or less guaranteed to induce headaches in whoever wears and plays it, not to mention graphics that are way outdated with a shade of unforgettable crimson. Thankfully, the Virtual Boy from Nintendo did not manage to take off in a big way, and it continues to remain in the hall of infamy where gaming VR headsets are concerned. Fast forward to today, and we have a wonderful blend of VR headsets in the market which are certainly capable of offering far more realistic graphics than ever before, not to mention a more immersive experience. Rather than just walking around in the environment and shooting stuff or avoiding obstacles, Leap Motion intends to bring things to a whole new level by actually harnessing your hand movement in the real world to be reflected in that of the VR world.
This certainly does not sound like a strange request at all, since Leap Motion themselves are a hand-tracking company, and the announcement of this latest platform will enable it to deliver its technology to VR headsets that are anchored by modern day and powerful smartphones. Known as the Leap Motion Mobile Platform, it will make use of not one, but a couple of miniature cameras that are embedded in a face plate. These small cameras have just one main purpose -- that is, to detect finger motion which has been integrated into lower-powered VR experiences. Supposedly, word on the street points to such finger motion appearing in commercial headsets some time in 2017, although it remains to be seen as to exactly which particular VR headsets will be on the receiving end.
What kicked off as a desktop-mounted, non-VR hand tracker, has now evolved into a module which is lightweight and small enough to be mounted on the front of headsets such as the Oculus Rift. This particular module can then pave the way for VR users to perform actions such as tossing, pushing or even picking up objects in VR. While high-end systems at the moment tend to come with their own hand controllers, there is the huge market of a more affordable VR experience, and this is where Leap Motion would like to tap into. Leap Motion CEO Michael Buckwald figures out that mobile hand-tracking could jolly well be the “iPhone moment for VR”, where it offers unprecedented accessibility as well as intuitiveness which could end up being a mainstream feature.
Games which will certainly benefit from this would be those beat ‘em ups, or perhaps when you would like to cast a spell or open up a doorway to a different dimension like that in Doctor Strange. Of course, wrestling titles would definitely find a niche here, and how about FPS games where you need to lob a grenade to get rid of that bunch of enemies hiding down the stairway? Adult-themed titles too, could benefit from the Leap Motion Mobile Platform, and we await with bated breath as to which manufacturers are willing to adopt this new platform in their hardware.