The visuals are there and the killer apps are starting to come together, but the user controls for virtual reality are still questionable to many consumers. Leap Motion's jump into the VR, bringing over its body-tracking technology, may be just what's needed to pull the whole experience together.
Adrift, a game in which players explore and abandoned space station, and EVE: Valkyrie, a sci-fi dogfighting simulator, are just some of the many titles preparing to keep VR's early adopters entertained and ensure that they'll be ambassadors of the tech to holdouts and naysayers.
On the hardware side, Samsung Galaxy owners can get their hands on VR now, with Samsung's Gear VR, and dark horse players Valve and HTC broke stealth mode at the 2015 Game Developers Conference to announce that their VR headset would be available in the fall of this year.
While not feted with showers of praise, as has been the case with the VR headsets, Leap Motion's latest product may be one of the best things that have happened to VR this year.
Leap Motion's appendage-tracking faceplate will be integrated in the Hacker Dev Kit (HDK) for OSVR's headset, both due to release in June of this year. The faceplate will be available in the dev kit or as a standalone.
Leap Motion's faceplate, which mounts onto the front of OSVR compatible's headsets, and it can track the wear's hands and interpret movement into input. So there won't be any fumbling with keys and grasping for joysticks, unless software developers combine the faceplate's input with other controllers.
"We believe that the future of VR lies in people's ability to reach into other worlds with their bare hands," says Leap Motion. "This is a huge milestone - not just for Leap Motion, but for the VR industry overall - and we're excited to continue driving that vision forward. With embedded solutions like this, Leap Motion is increasingly solidifying its place as a fundamental part of the VR experience."
OSVR, Open Source Virtual Reality, is just the first of several headset manufacturers Leap Motion plans to work with. Eventually, Leap Motion's VR faceplate will be available as a VR headset. So far, Sony's Morpheus may be the only headset to present problem for Leap Motion, as all of the other major VR headsets -- the Vive, the Rift, the Razer and Gear VR -- are open source.
"The benefit to having motion control technology embedded in a VR headset is twofold: developers know what type of input they're designing for, and consumers get a consistent experience every time," says Leap Motion.