The Oculus Rift may present most elements of the Virtual Reality future we were promised by decades of sci-fi, but it doesn’t quite complete that total immersion picture.
Rift users can look around their environment and feel like they’re inside a new world, for sure, but they still need additional peripherals to move through lands and control objects.
An announcement from Leap Motion, the company behind the Leap Motion sensor, on Thursday, might provide at least some of the answers to that shortcoming.
The company has used a £12 mount to strap a Leap Motion sensor to the front of an Oculus Rift, complete with software integration, which allows Rift users to see their own hands in the VR world.
When wearers hold their hands up in front of the sensor, they’ll see a skeletal rendering of all the joints in all ten fingers.
In theory, this innovation will allow gamers to open doors, pick up items and perhaps even fire weapons, throw punches and even touch other characters with their own bare hands, during immersive VR gaming experiences.
The Leap sensor currently sees in infrared, but a new version (codenamed Dragonfly) is on the way which will add colour into the mix too, further broadening the ability for users to truly believe they’re seeing their own hands while wearing a Rift headset.
Many folks who experience wearing the Rift headset for the first time instinctively look for their paws. This innovation means that for the first time, they’ll actually see them, something which could certainly add to the authenticity of the VR experience.
The demonstration, which you can see in the video below, is just a proof of concept right now and isn’t part of any partnership with Oculus or Facebook.
Leap’s innovation comes as it announces an SDK for developers to create new tools using the inexpensive motion tracking technology, which has so far proved useful for creatives working in 3D environments and has now been built into some laptops.
Read more: Oculus Rift vs Project Morpheus