Wireless hand-tracking is positioned to play a large role in virtual reality (VR) in the future. That much was made clear last year when Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) creator Oculus VR bought Nimble VR, a start-up working with the tech. San Francisco-based company Leap Motion has also made huge commitments to VR over the past several months, releasing a mount to attach its hand-tracking sensor to the front of the Oculus Rift and even hosting a VR-focused videogame jam. Today the company is announcing that it is integrating its technology into an actual HMD: the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit.
As those that have followed VR in 2015 will know, OSVR stands for Open-Source Virtual Reality. The group, headed up by Razer, aims to bring together a range of HMDs, input systems and software developers to create an accessible ecosystem for VR development. Part of the group’s plans involve the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit, a 3D printable HMD that will also be going on sale in June 2015 for $199.99 USD. Leap Motion itself was one of the first companies to be announced as a part of the group back at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January.
Leap Motion integration comes to the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit in the form of an optional faceplate that customers will be able to either purchase with the HMD itself or pick up as a standalone add-on later on. Along with embedded hardware, the faceplate also includes the OSVR motion plugin software. As a result, developers will be able to easily add support for hand-tracking into VR experiences. Existing Leap Motion software can be extended into the OSVR framework and new projects can benefit from a standard set of functions. Both Unity and Unreal Engine 4 will be supported.
This also makes Leap Motion the first input-dedicated company to integrate with OSVR, with other such combinations to be announced in the future.
“By letting the user connect directly with the VR environment, hand tracking allows virtual reality to be as natural and intuitive as interacting with the real world, giving the user a powerful sense of presence and immersion,” said Michael Buckwald, CEO and Co-founder of Leap Motion. “We’re pleased to partner with OSVR to bring our technology to the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit, helping developers enable the true potential of VR.”
Pre-orders for the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit will open in May. VRFocus will continue to follow the device and the OSVR ecosystem in general, reporting back with any further updates.