Virtual reality technology is still in its early days as far as commercial implementation is concerned, and while user adoption hasn't been as quick as expected, VR itself is advancing at a rapid pace. That's the beauty of any emerging technology – it's improving faster than manufacturers can implement it. Over the course of this year, we've seen not one, but two high-end VR headsets hit the market. The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive both sported premium specs and similar technology. For example, both devices use physical Touch controllers which serve as an alternative to traditional gamepads. However, the way we interact with virtual worlds may also soon change as the American sensor manufacturer Leap Motion is currently working on a method that would eliminate physical controllers from the VR equation.
More specifically, Leap Motion has been developing a hand tracking solution for a couple of years now. Given how Touch controllers for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have been specifically designed to track users' hands, a more elegant solution that would accomplish the same thing without requiring users to hold anything would probably make the existing technology obsolete. As it turns out, Leap Motion made another important step on its journey to increase user adoption of its product as the company just announced the Leap Motion Mobile Platform. The said platform encompasses both hardware and software and is designed for untethered VR and AR headsets. Given how this is an internal approach to hand tracking, Leap Motion's solution won't be launched as a peripheral. Instead, the company is working with manufacturers of VR and AR headsets to embed its technology directly into their future products.
This strategy makes sense for both Leap Motion and headset manufacturers given how they share the costs and, consequently, risks of commercial implementation of this solution. Furthermore, an integrated hand tracking system would certainly streamline the user experience given how consumers wouldn't have to purchase and connect additional peripherals to their VR and AR headsets. Following that train of thought, David Holz, the Chief Technology Officer at Leap Motion, described the Leap Motion Mobile Platform as a move "towards the consumerization of virtual reality," adding how existing technology is yet to become mainstream. Holz's line of thinking is that if this technology can be streamlined, that would instantly make it more appealing to the average consumer who's looking for a product that's as simple to use as possible.
Leap Motion will start naming official partners for its new platform in early 2017. Given how an experimental version of this technology was previously demonstrated within the Gear VR headset, it's likely that Samsung will be among the parties named by Leap Motion. All in all, more information is bound to follow soon.