With this year being declared the year of virtual reality by multiple parties, it’s inevitable that we get a lot of new technology related to it. But older players are still in the game, not satisfied to allow newer developers to just take over the market. Initially coming up with a below mediocre product in 2012, Leap Motion brings us surprisingly fun Orion hand tracker.
In 2012, Leap Motion tried to impress with their hand tracking technology reminiscent of Minority Report. And they almost made it, too. It looked really interesting, and it had a lot of potential, but the large number of bugs and the inaccuracy of the product made it bomb.
Selling only 500,000 units during the first two years, the company decided to take it slowly. Almost four years later and here we finally are with the second version of Leap Motion’s hand tracking technology – the Orion. Wanting to take the lead in the VR market by making their technology completely seamless, Leap motion completely reconstructed their previous failed attempt with both new software and hardware.
For the software, the company has already shipped a new beta build of their SDK. With Leap Motion claiming it’s faster, smarter, more accurate, and radically improved, the Orion’s software is able to perform tasks that few other VR devices on the market currently can. Surprisingly, the new software will also work with the company’s previous hardware.
As for the aforementioned hardware, the Orion will come in a much lighter and slimmer build that the previous motion sensor. However, here’s the catch. At least at first, the company won’t be selling individual devices; instead, it’s meant for current developers to take advantage of it and integrate it into their already finished VR gear.
This means that a large number of the currently developing virtual reality devices might soon be implementing the new technology into their own devices. However, as the new software runs on the company’s old hardware, we can still enjoy the surprisingly fun experience.
As someone that is a bit skeptical about losing the controller or the mouse and keyboard when we’re talking about gaming, I must say that the presentation video I watched made the device look actually very enjoyable, and perhaps even strangely practical.
Different gestures render different results, and the accuracy of the tracking software is impressing. In the presentation, you could throw blocks around in a virtual environment, and the hand movements looked spot on. Just go ahead and Google “orion blocks demo” and you should find it without issues.
Image source: YouTube