Leap Motion has been making strides with its work combining virtual reality (VR) technology with its hand-tracking sensors over the past year. Not only does the company have its own mount for the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) that allows for in-game hand-tracking, but it recently hosted a high profile Game Jam encouraging indie developers to make immersive VR experiences with the controller. This week the developer has detailed one its own creations using both technologies named Planetarium.
Planetarium can be downloaded for free from Leap Motion’s official website and showcases some of the advancements that the company has made not only with its hardware but also software. The title allows players to travel the globe, looking at stars as they would appear in real life at the given location and time. Players first use their hand to travel around the world, then adjusting the time using an arm-mounted heads up display (HUD) with a time dial widget. It’s even possible to reach out and grab constellations, revealing star distances and temperatures.
The piece was thought up by Leap Motion’s Daniel Plemmons. “I’m an amateur astronomer, and there’s a lot of limits to what you can see through inexpensive, ground-based telescopes,” Plemmons said of the project’s creation in a recent Leap Motion blog post. “I got it in my head that there were some pretty cool things I could visualize and learn if I could look at stars through a VR headset. The most interesting of which was to visualize the actual distance of stars from Earth.”
Leap Motion plans to open source Planetarium in the future, allowing developers to use the included Widgets in their own Unity projects. VRFocus will continue to follow Leap Motion’s work in VR, reporting back with any further updates.