Many gadget enthusiasts consider 2016 to be the year of Virtual Reality, not only because the highly-anticipated Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are on their way for a market release within the next couple of months, but also because more and more manufacturers seem to get involved with the VR scene. Leap Motion has also shown an interest in Virtual Reality technology, which led to the company's latest creation called the Leap Motion Orion. It consists of a motion sensor designed for VR headsets and powerful software which allows users to control virtual objects using only their hands.
Aside from graphics and the whole 3D element which obviously plays a big role in the whole VR experience, another important aspect contributing to immersion in a virtual world is the way users interacts with the environment. Most, if not all VR headsets available or coming to the market in the foreseeable future need to be connected to an external controller. These controllers come in various shapes, ranging from gamepads to hand controllers such as Samsung's "Rink" designed for the Gear VR. However, Leap Motion has a different vision, one which doesn't involve the user fiddling with a physical object in the real world in order to control their VR environments. The company's latest creation – called Orion – is derived from the original Leap Motion controller aimed for computer users, but now it's been designed specifically for VR headsets. Orion's hardware includes a 3D motion sensor which can be embedded within VR headsets, and works along with Leap Motion's new software allowing users to control objects in Virtual Reality by using only their hands, through familiar gestures such as pinch, drag, pull, push, lift and so on. Basically, the sensor is supposed to read the user's hands motion and translate it accurately into the virtual reality world, as you can see in the demo video below.
Although Leap Motion took a shot at VR with its previous 3D motion sensor which became an optional accessory for the Razer OSVR, the company's co-founder and CEO, Michale Buckwald, says that the Leap Motion Orion was designed specifically for VR. In addition, because mobile VR headsets are more compact, Buckwald claims that the Orion is more likely to be adopted by the mobile VR niche. The CEO claims that the company is already discussing possible collaborations with several OEMs who are interested in embedding Orion into future headsets, and adds that the technology should become available sometime by the end of the year.