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Touch the model, don’t touch the model!

We believe how the user interacts with the model will be very important and this presents many interesting possibilities. We discussed the current Keyboard and Mouse controls in a previous post and this is probably the most suitable method for somebody using their own Desktop Computer or Laptop. However there are other platforms to consider such as phone and tablet and also other more specialised possibilities if the model was displayed in a public space such as a visitor centre.


Specialised hardware could include large screens with button/joystick controls or even extend to Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented Reality (AR) which themselves extend the applications of the model. Such “installations” also provide the opportunity to reach a lot of people quickly and thus are very attractive to us.


However, a recent trip to a visitor centre flagged up a problem which may persist for some time. This particular visitor centre, quite understandably, had all their touch screens turned off as part of their COVID-19 precautions and its uncertain when this restriction may be lifted. Even when restrictions are lifted there is a question of how willing people will be to touch common surfaces. The same problem is true of all the options for interaction mentioned above. Thus this raised the question of how can people interact with a digital model in a public space?


One option that may provide the answer is hand tracking, which essentially allows control of a computer without touching it. A very affordable device for hand tracking is the Leap Motion so we acquired one and are currently assessing it’s suitability.




So far we have managed to set it up and use it to interact with some simple objects and it seems to support our current tool set well. Over the next week or so we will try to link it to the model and will report on that in our next blog post, as long as we can stop playing and do some real work!




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