leap motion vr mount oculus rift dk2

Leap Motion creates a gesture camera for hand tracking input. The company has been progressively pivoting their technology toward virtual reality, and now appear to be going all-in on the emerging industry with a tease of a next-generation sensor, codenamed ‘Dragonfly’, along with a VR Mount for the Oculus Rift and VR-focused updates to the company’s SDK.

In an official blog post, titled ‘Leap Motion Sets a Course for VR‘, Leap Motion co-founder David Holz teases the company’s work on a next-gen sensor that’s designed to be built into VR headsets.

…I’d like to also give a hint of what we’re working on for the future. One prototype sensor that we’re beginning to show today (and will be giving out more information on in the future) is codenamed “Dragonfly.” Designed to be embedded by VR OEMs, Dragonfly possesses greater-than-HD image resolution, color and infrared imagery, and a significantly larger field of view.

With next-generation “mega-sensors” like this, a Leap Motion device can literally become your eyes into the digital and physical realms – allowing you to seamlessly mix and mash, fade and blend, between virtual environments and the sharpness of the real world.

The tease of the company’s VR-specific sensor comes amid news of a Leap Motion VR Mount made to attach the company’s current gesture camera to the front of the Oculus Rift. The VR Mount, which the company is now selling for $20, comes with everything needed to make it easy to attach the gesture camera to the DK1 or DK2. Doing so gives the users front-facing gesture camera capabilities, with the ability to track hand movements to be used as input for VR applications.

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leap motion vr mount for oculus rift dk2

When the Leap Motion is placed in the VR Mount, it blocks three of the Oculus Rift DK2’s 33 or so IR LEDs that are hidden under the front cover for use with positional tracking. The company says that “mounting the device doesn’t result in any issues with positional tracking to the best of our knowledge, since the DK2 actually has many more LEDs than necessary (which allows for experimental uses like this). We’ve used it successfully without encountering any problems.”

Since the release of the DK1, developers have been experimenting using the Leap and other gesture cameras mounted to the Oculus Rift using everything from rubber-bands and duct tape to 3D printed mounts.

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leap motion field of view oculus riftLeap Motion says that the field of view of the camera, at 135 degrees, surprasses that of the Oculus Rift. “Because our device’s field of view exceeds that of existing VR displays, you’ll find it can start to track your hands before you even see them,” says David Holz, co-founder of Leap Motion.

Accompanying the launch of the VR Mount is an update to the Leap Motion SDK which includes “massively improved ‘top-down tracking’ mode” that’s designed to allow hand-tracking from a VR headset-mounted vantage point. Normally, the Leap Motion is used facing up while sitting flat on a desk.

The company has a gallery of experiments developed for the Oculus Rift DK2 using the SDK’s new functionality.

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  • SuperDre

    I wonder why they don’t include a very small USB cable so it can directly be plugged into the USB-port of the DK2 (which is also powered), the current software still only supports USB2 speeds so it should work with the DK2 directly.

    • Contrabardus

      DK2 doesn’t like it when you plug stuff into that port. Leap doesn’t work well when you plug it in there.

      It’s useful for a power supply I guess, but something about the DK2 causes interference when trying to use a device plugged into that port.

      That could be worked out later on either end, maybe an SDK update or something, but the current Leap is a no go in that port as is any other USB input device I’ve plugged into it. It’s a power outlet and that’s pretty much it right now.

  • NPC_Joe

    This is the tech wizardry that we need right about now, so glad to see something like this happening. Imagine this with some wearable gloves with a sensory output somehow according to recognized feedback from your played character’s hands.

  • tgsdev

    Eh, they made the Leap Motion sound pretty great for non-VR use too, and it turned out to be a massive flop. I won’t be expecting much from this until it’s properly evaluated by a trustworthy third party.

    • brandon9271

      I think the Leap Motion is sort of like the Razer Hydra was at first. It really needs native support in an app to really shine. Shoehorning it into apps with mouse emulation is never going to be compelling. i thought the Hydra was a piece of crap and considered it a flop until VR saved it from the brink of death. Sixense needs to send Palmer Luckey a birthday present and a Christmas card every year! lol

      • tgsdev

        If the Hydra worked reliably I would agree with you, but it doesn’t, at least not for me. I spent several hours again with mine yesterday in HL VR mod + simple test app before throwing up my hands in frustration. So it is a piece of crap and a flop. The same danger exists for Leap Motion, I believe. I am, however, greatly looking forward to devices of this nature that operate on sound principles and are rock solid. They will be fantastic for VR.

        • brandon9271

          what sort of issues do you have with the Hydra? I never used mine extensively but with the few programs and demos I tried with native support I never had any issues.

        • Ben Lang

          This is strange, the Hydra performance seems to be polazaried. Mine has always worked very well, especially in the HL2VR mod. I think part of the issue may occasionally be magnetic interference, but more often than not I’m willing to be it’s a calibration issue, no one has come up with a standard reliable method. Hopefully STEM will fix this.

  • Curtrock

    This looks quite promising. Good move for the company, to find a way to make their product relevant to VR. We will still need gloves for tactile feedback, but this could cover a myriad of useful scenarios for the Rift. I specifically like the idea of being able to mix/fade/blend between VR environments & normal/IR cam viewing. Opens up the whole AR experience for the Rift, too.