Leap Motion integration coming to SL?

Most people are already aware that Linden Lab are working to integrate the Oculus Rift headset, and are also probably aware that at the start of 2013, Simon Linden did some initial work in enabling the Leap Motion controller to work with Second Life with very basic movement / action controls.

Simon’s work was not a part of any official project, but acted as a proof-of-concept as to what might be achieved using Leap Motion as an alternative means of avatar control  to the keyboard / mouse, and he made the code available for anyone wishing to make use of it.

Since then, other have looked into the use of Leap Motion, with perhaps Draxtor Despres being the most noticeable of late, after he recently produced a video showing his work in SL / Leap Motion connectivity through the use of the GameWAVE software application which can be obtained from the Leap Motion Airspace online app store.

Now it looks as if Leap Motion integration into Second Life may become part of a combined project featuring Linden Lab, third-party viewer and open-source developers and Leap Motion themselves.

A surprise guest at the Third-party Developer meeting on Friday November 22nd was a representative from Leap Motion. However, as he was unable to speak due to voice issues, Oz spoke on his behalf, revealing that the company is very interested in having their controller “well-integrated” into the viewer.

“So they have been very gracious and provided us with some controllers to play with,” Oz informed those attending the meeting. “And they’re prepared to provide consulting and help for people who want to do it.”

As the Lab is already running a number of viewer-related projects (not all of which have yet been revealed), they are hoping the open-source / TPV developers will be willing to work on the project in order to get code contributed and integrated into the viewer.

It is hoped that the Leap Motion device can be "well integrated" into the SL viewer (image courtesy of leapmotion.com)
It is hoped that the Leap Motion device can be “well-integrated” into the SL viewer (image courtesy of leapmotion.com)

Whether the work will build on Simon’s initial proof-of-concept or form a totally separate project is currently unclear at this point, but at least the Lab have the code should it prove useful in giving the work an initial boost.

There is no official timescale for the project as yet, however developers who are interested in being involved are encouraged to contact both Oz Linden at the usual e-mail address, and the Leap Motion rep.

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More on Leap Motion, courtesy of Drax

Back at the start of the year, Simon Linden revealed he’d done some preliminary work on using Leap Motion within Second Life, allowing the former to provide some limited control of in-world avatar actions.

Now none other that our own Draxtor Despres has been trying-out the Leap Motion, and has produced a video of his experiences and some notes on using the kit with Second Life. It’s an informative piece which includes playing Loki Elliot’s The Well.

Drax uses GameWAVE to configure his leap Motion device, and the video shows he gains a reasonable level of control over avatar movement, and GameWAVE has the potential to add control beyond that demonstrated within the video.

For those into compiling their own viewers, Simon’s code is still available in the viewer-rabbit repository, but please read his notes in his original blog post.

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With thanks to Drax for pinging me about this.

Taking a Leap (Motion) into Second Life

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.”

The Leap Motion device (image courtesy of leapmotion.com)
The Leap Motion device for Windows / Mac (image courtesy of leapmotion.com)

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.

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