3D display controlled with the Leap Motion

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Touch screens are nice — we still can’t live without a keyboard but they suffice when on the go. But it is becoming obvious that the end goal with user interface techniques is to completely remove the need to touch a piece of hardware in order to interact with it. One avenue for this goal is the use of voice commands via software like Siri, but another is the use of 3D processing hardware like Kinect or Leap Motion. This project uses the latter to control the image shown on the 3D display.

[Robbie Tilton] generated a 3D image using Three.js, a JavaScript 3D library. The images are made to appear as if floating in air using a pyramid of acrylic which reflects the light toward the viewer’s eyes without blocking out ambient light in the room. In the past we’ve referred to this as a volumetric display. But [Robbie] points out that this actually uses the illusion called Pepper’s Ghost. It’s not really volumetric because the depth is merely an illusion. Moving your point of view won’t change your perspective unless you go around the corner to the next piece of acrylic. But it’s still a nice effect. See for yourself in the demo after the jump.

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Air Harp using the Leap Motion

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He’s just pointing in this image, but this Air Harp can be played using many fingers as once. It’s a demonstration which [Adam Somers] threw together in one weekend when working with the Leap Motion developer board. We first heard about this slick piece of hardware back in May and from the looks of it this is every bit as amazing as first reported.

Part of what made the project come together so quickly is that [Adam] had already developed a package called muskit. It’s a C++ toolkit for making music applications. It puts the framework in place what we hear in the video after the break. The weekend of hacking makes use of the positional data from the Leap Motion and handles how your digits interact with the virtual strings. You can watch as [Adam] adds more and more strings to the virtual instrument for his finger to interact with. The distance from the screen is what decided is your finger will pluck or not. This is indicated with a red circle when your fingertip is close enough to interact with the phantom string.

Get your hands on the code from his repositories.

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Controlling a quadcopter with a Leap Motion

A few folks over at National Instruments going under the name LabVIEW Hacker have gotten their hands on a Leap Motion dev kit. The Leap is an interesting little input device designed to track fingertips in 3D space, much like a Kinect but at much higher resolution. Needing something to show off their LabVIEW prowess, these guys controlled their office AR Drone with the Leap, making a quadcopter controller that is completely touchless.

Building on their previous AR Drone hack, the LabVIEW team spent the better part of a day adding wrappers around the Leap SDK and adding in control for their RC quadcopter. Now, simply by moving their fingertips over the Leap sensor, they can control their office quadrotor using a very high-resolution 3D scanner.

Video after the break.

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