Exclusive: Validating an Experimental Shortcut Interface with Flaming Arrows & Paper Planes

Have Leap Motion and a VR headset? Try the demo yourself.


UX Refinements

While user testing the shortcut system with all these pinch powers, we quickly noticed a couple of issues many users had right at the start. First, if the system and all the powers were enabled when a user put on the headset, they would be overwhelmed by all the sounds and animations from simply moving their hands around.

To ease users into the system we added a little introduction where users place their hands (with empty PowerCube holders on the back) into hand outlines on a podium. This lets them receive the PowerCubes. Then, starting in the unpowered Free Hand mode, they flip their hand over and pinch the PowerCube. At first, they’re only able to switch into the Plane Hand. After successfully switching to and using the Plane Hand, the Bow Hand option becomes available, followed by the Time Hand option.

The other issue was one we’d predicted – users would try to tap, push, or grab the PowerCube on the back of their hand with their other hand. Despite our various attempts to un-afford other hand interaction with the PowerCube, many users still tried to interact with it.

Rather than fighting this behavior we decided to embrace it and use it to include a new feature. We added the ability to disable the PowerCube entirely by tapping it with the other hand. This turned the entire shortcut system off as well as any pinch powers, allowing totally free movement of the hands. Tapping the PowerCube again reactivates the system, resetting the hand to the last enabled mode.

All Together Now!

In practice, these three abilities and switching between them using the shortcut system come together as a sandbox experience about throwing paper planes and hitting them with tiny arrows to transform them into colorful flocks. Hitting a white plane with a single regular arrow converts it into a bright ribbon-trailing version of itself and send it to join its own flock.

Hitting a white plane with a flaming arrow sets it on fire, burning it up and destroying it.

However, hitting a transformed colorful plane with a flaming arrow makes it burn with a plane-specific flame color while glowing brightly for a short time.

If you have a Leap Motion Controller mounted to an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, you can download the executable and try it yourself. We’re very interested to hear how you find the Shortcuts system in practice, especially after a few minutes of use.

Other Guest Articles by Barrett Fox & Martin Schubert


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  • Molmir

    If Oculus can get Leap Motion handtracking, stereo-AR-passthrough, Googles high-res standalone display, and eyetracking added to the final third version of Santa Cruz for Oculus Connect this year they will have a killer product.

    • Luke

      I prefere killer applications for actual oculus rift other than new killer products (there will be always something better that others will place on the market).
      …but killer applications do the story of a company.

    • dk

      optional pc connection also will be huge
      …..btw pass through has problems like latency and high video quality that r hard to solve

    • They are already working on their own hands tracking

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  • Awesome

  • Mal1t1a

    I just finished trying out this experiment. It’s quite neat! I have never actually tried using my Leap Motion with my HTC Vive and this was quite special. I felt like I finally had the realistic hand tracking I wanted (with exception to the limited FoV). Combined with a simple to use interface. In particular, I especially enjoyed how it felt like a smooth VR experience. My actions and motions really felt like I was throwing a paper airplane.