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Augmented and virtual reality on a budget

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Cutting edge augmented and virtual reality technology does not have to be expensive.

For less than a couple of hundred dollars you can get your hands on world-leading hand tracking technology.

The inexpensive Leap Motion Controller enables users to interact naturally with computer-generated augmented and virtual reality content through intricate hand gestures.

The Leap Motion Controller is a neat, chocolate bar-sized, box of tricks with a powerful interaction engine that can discern 27 distinct hand elements, including bones and joints, and track them even when they are obscured by other parts of the hand. It has an interactive tracking range of up to 60cm.

The Leap Motion Controller is extremely useful for interacting with real-world-like simulations in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) environments. The Leap VR Developer Mount enabled the motion controller to attach to VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

Both AR and VR forms of technology are perfect for creating simulations that can be used in the work place for assessment and training purposes, particularly where the real-world alternative is either dangerous or expensive.

The first iteration of the Leap Motion Controller was originally manufactured and marketed by US-based Leap Motion in 2012. More advanced optical hand tracking capability in virtual
reality environments was added in 2016 before the sensor was sold to Ultrahaptics in the UK last year.

As well as its use in controlling augmented and virtual reality environments, the Leap Motion Controller can also be used hands free with productivity software on personal computers, integrated into enterprise-grade hardware solutions or video displays.

The controller can also be used to create touchless public interfaces for interactive kiosks and even to control elevators, making it increasingly popular in the Covid-19 world.

In healthcare, it can be used for stroke rehabilitation, training and medical imaging, and in therapy and education, it is a great for anatomic visualizations and hands-on learning.

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About Author

David Hallett

David Hallett is a co-founder and director of Hamilton software specialist Company-X.