The Open Source Virtual Reality platform announced on Wednesday that they have been working together with Leap Motion on a project that could see hand-tracking technology added to their virtual reality headset.
The two companies revealed in separate online posts that consumers can purchase an optional faceplate – powered by Leap Motion’s technology – for the upcoming OSVR Hacker Dev Kit that will be available in June.
The collaboration between the two tech companies could lead to the birth of a revolutionary product, whose main purpose is to make the “magic of hands and fingers” the preferred input option between consumers and their gaming platforms.
The Hacker Dev Kit hopes to make the keyboard-and-mouse input method obsolete, since being able to use your own hands is paramount for the success of the Virtual Reality technology. “The desire to interact with your hands in Virtual Reality is very powerful,” Leap Motion CEO Michael Buckwald told in a press release.
OSVR had trouble convincing the game producers out there to include VR tech among their games’ features. The platform is already compatible with the most important game engines on the market, like Unreal Engine 4 and Unity 3D. However, there are too few games that actually make an investment into VR hardware worthwhile.
The gaming industry is certainly showing interest in virtual reality, as Gearbox, Ubisoft, even the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), all showed their support for OSVR. But there is not enough content to convince gamers to spend their time and money on the new platform, and this also discourages the developers to invest in an idea that might not bring them any profit.
The new optional faceplate will have an incorporated camera that will add hand tracking to VR projects. The camera will also enable users to be aware of what’s happening around the, while still wearing the OSVR headset, as it can pass video to the headset display.
The Leap Motion camera is basically high-speed infrared camera. What it actually does is taking a step backwards so the VR technology can go forwards. Instead of covering the real world in virtual images, the camera makes the VR headset aware of reality, specifically user’s hand movement.
The hand detection latency is of 6-8 milliseconds for one hand and a little bit higher for two hands, at about 8-12 ms. So far, tests have revealed that the product, which is still in a beta stage, is sometimes experiencing difficulties in locating both hands or tracking every hand movement.
But according to the developers, the testing results are nothing but encouraging. “OSVR brings game developers, gamers and hardware manufacturers together to solve challenges and make VR gaming a reality for the masses,” as Razer marketing manager Christopher Mitchell argued. The Hacker Dev Kit can prove to be a milestone in virtual reality technology, benefiting game developers as well as players.
The Leap Motion faceplate is already available for pre-order, and for $79.99 consumers can buy both the camera and the OSVR kit that makes it compatible with the headset. As far as the Hacker Dev Kit goes, the company has not yet confirmed a price, but most people expect it will be available for around $199.99, which means that consumers can buy both components in one go for less than $300.
Image Source: Tech Crunch
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