While I’ve been buried in dio, working on an interactive guide to … something … Linden Lab slipped out another little surprise this week via the blog.
Reaching Out into Second Life looks at the use of Leap Motion for interacting with SL. The work is being carried out by Simon Linden, and is clearly tagged as experimental, but it shows the potential of Second Life as a platform for exploring gesture-based interactions with controllers like Leap Motion.
Nor are the Lab keeping matters to themselves. The blog post states:
If you have a Leap Motion controller and would like to experiment with the Second Life Viewer, you can find the source code for these experiments at http://bitbucket.org/simon_linden/viewer-rabbit. The indra/newview/llleapmotioncontroller.cpp file contains most new functionality. The Viewer is built to work in several different modes. These modes can be used to control the avatar while flying, send data into Second Life for scripts to intercept, detect hand motions that trigger avatar gestures, or control the camera and avatar movement. To switch between these modes use the “LeapMotionTestMode” value in the Debug Settings, accessible from the Advanced menu.
Commenting on his work, Simon Linden re-emphasised the experimental nature of the work and it’s possibilities, “It’s nowhere near a real feature. But it’s certainly fun to make things happen waving your hand around … I think we’ll see some very interesting stuff in the future.” He went on, “I think there’s potential there, along with touch screens, but it’s going to take a lot of work and experiments to see what really is good or not.”
If you’re wondering why Simon has his hand cocked sideways when firing the pop-gun in the video, he’s not trying to emulate any cool Hollywood or gangster-style of shooting, the Leap Motion device sensors demonstrated a blind spot when he was testing the unit, and would not register his thumb motion if he had his thumb pointing upwards.
For those wishing to try things out for themselves, Leap Motion can be ordered from the Leap Motion website, with prices starting from $69.99 + shipping (for the USA), which does not make it prohibitively expensive. It’s also capable of being put to a wide variety of uses as Leap Motion’s own promo video demonstrates.