Rock-paper-scissors at HiFi, with thanks to SL’s Strachan Ofarrel!

HF-logoDan Hope over at High Fidelity has provided  a light-hearted blog post on using the Leap Motion gesture device with the High Fidelity Alpha.

The blog post includes a video showing Chris Collins and Ozam Serim in-world in High Fidelity playing a game of rock-paper-scissors. The intention is to provide something of an update on integrating Leap Motion with High Fidelity.

Both Chris and Ozan’s avatars have intentionally-oversized hands, which although they look silly / awkward, help emphasise the  dexterity available in the High Fidelity avatar. Not only can avatars mimic user’s gestures, they can mimic  individual finger movements as well (something Dan has shown previously in still images).

Dan also points out the work to integrate Leap Motion hasn’t been done internally, but has  been a contribution from CtrlAltDavid – better known in Second Life as Strachan Ofarrel (aka Dave Rowe), the man behind the CtrlAltStudio viewer. As such, Dan points to it being an example of the High Fidelity Worklist being put to good use – although I say it’s more a demonstration of  Dave’s work in getting new technology into virtual environments :).

A lot of people have been fiddling with Leap Motion – including fixing it to the front of an Oculus Rift headset (as noted in the HiFi blog post) in order to make better use of it in immersive environments.Having it fixed to an Oculus, makes it easier for the Leap Motion to capture gestures – all you need to do is hold your hands up in your approximate field-of-view, rather than having to worry about where the Leap is on your desk.

Mounting the Leap motion to the front of Oculus Rift headsets is seen as one way to more accurately translate hand movements and gestures into a virtual environment. Perhaps so - but a lot of people remain unconvinced with gesture devices as they are today
Mounting the Leap motion to the front of Oculus Rift headsets is seen as one way to more accurately translate hand movements and gestures into a virtual environment. Perhaps so – but a lot of people remain unconvinced about using gesture devices as we have them today

Away from the ubiquitous Oculus Rift, Simon Linden did some initial experiments with Leap Motion with Second Life in early 2013, and Drax also tried it out with some basic gesture integration using GameWAVE software, however the lack of accuracy with the earlier Leap Motion devices didn’t easily lend their use to the platform, which is why more recent attempts at integration didn’t really get off the ground. However, Leap Motion have been working to improve things.

That said, not everyone is convinced as to the suitability of such gesture devices when compared to more tactile input systems such as haptic gloves, which have the benefit of providing levels of feedback on things (so when you pick a cube up in-world, you can “feel” it between your fingers, for example). Leap certainly appears to suffer from some lack of accuracy  – but it is apparently getting better.

Given a choice, I’d probably go the haptic glove + gesture route, just because it does seem more practical and assured when it comes to direct interactions. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to see how experiments like this are progressing, particularly given the Lab’s own attempts to make the abstraction layer for input devices as open as possible on their next generation platform, in order to embrace devices such as the Leap Motion.

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