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Major Takeaways:

  • Leap Motion’s ‘Interaction Engine’ takes over standard physics engines when it comes to defining interactions between user input and virtual objects, establishing user intent (like grabbing, throwing, or pushing) based the Leap Motion tracker.
  • The result of the Engine is a more consistent, smoother control when interacting with objects in VR.
  • The Interaction Engine remains internal-only at Leap Motion, but will be released publicly soon.

Road to VR discusses Leap Motion’s new “Interaction Engine”, and the way it makes object interactions more consistent and intuitive.

From the article:

Leap Motion‘s Caleb Kruse demonstrated the company’s work on the Interaction Engine, which is said to form the foundation of intuitive and accurate interactions with a variety of objects. With that foundation in place, developers can focus on creating useful experiences rather than having to having to find out the best way to program interactions from the ground up. The Interaction Engine is still internal at Leap Motion, but the company tells us that they plan to release it widely to developers in the near future.

The Interaction Engine is a sort of intermediary between the user’s input and the physics engine, Kruse told us. Left to physics alone, grabbing an object too tightly might cause it to fly out of your hand as your fingers phase through it. The Interaction Engine, on the other hand, tries to establish your intent (like grabbing, throwing, or pushing) based on what the Leap Motion tracker knows about your hand movements, rather than treating your hand in VR like any other object in the physics simulation…

…Another demo which utilized the Interaction Engine allows you to create cubes of varying sizes by pinching your thumb and index finger together to form a recognizable gesture. Then, when moving your hands close together, the outline of a cube forms and you can move your hands back and forth (like a pinch zoom) to set your desired scale…

Grasping virtual objects which have no physical representation is still a strange affair, but the Interaction Engine definitely enhances predictability and consistency in object interactions, which is incredibly important for the practicability of any input method.

Head to Road to VR for the full scoop.