Leap Motion‘s tiny, sleek sensor lets you use hand motions to control all types of devices and situations. One of these is virtual reality: the company designed a mount which lets the motion tracker attach easily to the front of an Oculus Rift headset, allowing for intuitive control of VR apps via gestures. Now, Leap Motion has released a demo for a new gesture called Quick Switch that will let users toggle between a VR space and a video feed of the real world–what you’d be looking at if you weren’t wearing a headset–with a simple gesture. Waving a hand close to the controller, which is attached to the front of the headset, will trigger this toggle.
“Because the hand passes so close to the controller, Quick Switch actually detects the gesture directly using the Image API,” Alex Colgan, at Leap Motion, wrote. “This means that the gesture is closer than the typical interaction zone–and extremely unlikely to be used by a regular VR app.” In more basic terms: Quick Switch won’t interfere with the regular gestures of any VR app you’re using.
This may seem like a pretty basic function in the vast, rapidly developing world of virtual reality, but the simplicity this tool provides in integrating our regular vision with VR suggests some pretty exciting potential for the future of this kind of software. So far, using a VR headset has been a very isolating experience, but the ability to combine it with one’s actual surroundings could inspire a totally different approach to designing programs for VR.
And as Prosthetic Knowledge points out, it wasn’t too long ago when no one knew what the phrase “swipe to unlock” meant. Now, it’s an almost subconscious, fully integrated part of our user experience.