Leap Motion Controller software beta gets big tracking improvements

The Leap Motion Controller is a gadget that lets you interact with your Mac or PC using hand and finger motions in the air, instead of touching a screen, keyboard, mouse or trackpad. Up until now it's been an occasionally annoying novelty, thanks to less-than-accurate motion tracking and other issues. A new software release now in the hands of developers promises to change that, however, according to company CEO Michael Buchwald:

  • Finger and hand labels – every finger, hand, and joint now has anatomical labels like 'pinky', 'left hand', and 'proximal phalanges'
  • Occlusion robustness – fingers are tracked even when they're not seen by the controller, as might happen if you turned your hands completely vertically or intertwined the fingers of your left and right hands
  • Massively improved resistance to ambient infrared light – sunlight, powerful halogens, etc.
  • Much more granular data for developers about the user's hands and fingers – 27 dimensions per hand, in addition to special parameters like grab/pinch APIs

I'm happy to hear about improved IR light resistance. The Leap Motion Controller is presently all but useless if you're using it in direct sunlight. Occlusion robustness should improve the accuracy of some applications that depend not only on interpreting how your hands are positioned but how your fingers have been moving.

Buchwald says Leap Motion still has a lot of work ahead with this new developer release before it'll be ready for consumers:

...this is beta software and there are many more features that need to be added before the consumer launch, with many tracking enhancements in the pipeline.

But still, it's good to see the company moving forward with major improvements to the API to make the Leap Motion Controller more than just a toy.

If you're curious about the Leap Motion Controller, check out my review.

Source: Leap Motion

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Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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