A Giant Leap?
As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago we acquired a Leap Motion device to assess if it could be used to provide a contactless interface to the model. We have been working hard on this and have made good progress to arrive at a basic proof of concept. This is certainly not a smooth finished product but enough to convince us that we could produce a system based on this interface if required.
Initially we wanted to use the Leap Motion to control a traditional “Canvas” based interface. A Canvas is like a transparent layer stuck to the computer screen that displays menu buttons, dropdown menus etc.. Although the Leap Motion did seem to support this in the past, the vision now seems to be to use interactable objects to control actions. This means that the user is essentially touching real objects in the environment. This is probably due to the increasing use of Virtual Reality and does seem to make a lot of sense with this sort of device.
Thus we defined some blocks to use as menu buttons with some fairly basic graphics, all this can be vastly improved. The user can then reach out and touch these buttons to drive actions. We also used the default hand models, many other options are available.
The interface takes a little getting used to but most people can get the hang of it reasonably quickly. As well as the Peak Selection menu above we also created some basic view control buttons that can be used to move around the model.
There is certainly a lot of scope for further development here, optimising the quality, size and spacing of the buttons is certainly one area for improvement and also the actual positioning of the Leap Motion Device can have quite an impact. We also spoke to UltraLeap, the developers of the Leap Motion, and they provided some great thoughts on how menus may be developed to be consistent with natural hand movements which we will definitely take on board as we move forward with this.
For now we can certainly conclude that this is a viable way forward for a touch-less interface to the model, which is good news.