Leap Motion, the company that makes the technology that can track hands incredibly well (not to be confused with Magic Leap, the AR company that also has a headset) has just announced a very interesting bit of hardware that they have been experimenting with.
This is their augmented reality headset. While they admit that it looks a little goofy, it offers a few very nice points. Mainly, the field of view on this headset is incredible. They are touting a field of view that is approximately 105° high by 75° wide with a 60% stereo overlap. For comparison, Microsoft’s hololens appears to have a field of view that is roughly 30°×17.5° (according to wikipedia).
While the field of view is impressive, keep in mind that this augmented reality headset from Leap Motion is using their sensor for hand tracking, and doesn’t really have much else in terms of sensors. The Verge touts that this headset is $100 but frankly if it is missing all the internal computing and tracking that the others have, the price isn’t a realistic comparison. While the Hololens may have a narrower field of view, it is doing inside out tracking and mapping your entire environment, while also tracking your hands and all on-board. Kind of a different animal.
However, even without all the fancy abilities to map your environment, this thing does some really incredible stuff. Leap Motion is a sensor and software company and you can really see their skills shining in these videos that show hand interaction.
Here’s their basic demo showing the “skeleton” of a hand they’re tracking. This is filmed using a webcam mounted inside the augmented reality viewer.
Since they’re tracking the hand’s position in 3d space, they can use it to do some fancy occlusion, meaning that your hands can block things from view.
One exciting use case is input for other devices. You’re not limited to physical buttons and switches.
Check out more on Leap Motion’s blog, where they outline their entire process of design, and where they claim they’ll be releasing the source files next week.