Leap Motion makes controller-free VR a reality

Leap Motion Orion

Leap Motion wants to make virtual reality more immersive than ever with a new hand-tracking system called Orion.

Leap Motion announced Orion as its new hardware and software platform built specifically for virtual reality and it allows users to reach out and grasp onto the digital world. The new sensor uses infrared technology to detect the motion of users' hands, down to the shape of their palm and the exact position of all 10 fingers.

Leap Motion claims tracking happens much faster than the previous model and works in more lighting situations. The new hardware is even able to keep track of parts of the hand hidden from the sensor's line of sight. Comparatively, the original Leap Motion could not distinguish which way your digits were pointed at certain points simply because of the way the room was lit.

The new sensor also handles complex (read: cluttered) environments much better and the extended range means users can actually stretch their arms out to reach for virtual objects. That said, it does have its limitations with the biggest one being your hands have to be visible to you in order to use them in the virtual world – so you can't blindly reach off to the side and expect something to happen in the VR experience.

Of course, the hardware is just one side of Orion. On the software end, Leap Motion has also made major improvements to its Interaction Engine, making hand gestures in VR feel more natural than ever before. Motion tracking is also faster, smoother and more sensitive, to boot.

Leap Motion plans to embed its new Orion sensor into hardware products that will launch later this year.

The software, however, is available starting today for owners of the older Leap Motion hardware, whether it be the standalone peripheral, the hardware built into laptops, or the Razer OVSR headset. All users need to do is download Orion from Leap Motion's to start playing with the software andcreating new applications.

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Via Venture Beat

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.