Making VR A Little More Usable With A Pinch Gesture Ring

[Florian] wants to browse the web like an internet cowboy from a cyberpunk novel. Unfortunately, VR controllers are great for games but really incapacitate a hand for typing. A new input method was needed, one that would free his fingers for typing, but still give his hands detailed input into the virtual world.

Since VR goggles have… hopefully… already reached peak ridiculousness, his first idea was to glue a Leap Motion controller to the front of it. It couldn’t look any sillier after all.  The Leap controller was designed to track hands, and when combined with the IMU built into the VR contraption, did a pretty good job of putting his hands into the world. Unfortunately, the primary gesture used for a “click” was only registering 80% of the time.

The gesture in question is a pinching motion, pushing the thumb and middle finger together. He couldn’t involve a big button without incapacitating his hands for typing. It took a few iterations, but he arrived at a compact ring design with a momentary switch on it. This is connected to an Arduino on his wrist, but was out of the way enough to allow him to type.

It’s yet another development marching us to usable VR. We personally can’t wait until we can use some technology straight out of  Stephenson or Gibson novel.

Pinch control2: laser drawing

[atduskgreg] posted this cool looking rig.  That’s a batting glove, chopped up and equipped with a flex sensor and a pressure sensor. The end goal was to create a new method of drawing. You can see he’s interfaced with the servos decently. It seems fairly responsive and intuitive. Looking at his results though, make us wonder if all that effort was worth it. We would probably apply this rig to some kind of animatronics.

iDisplay, webcam multitouch

Embedded above is an interesting multitouch demo by [Lahiru]. The goal of the project was to find an easy way to retrofit current LCDs for multitouch. Instead of using infrared or capacitive recognition, it uses a standard webcam mounted overhead. To calibrate, you draw polygon around the desktop screen as the webcam sees it. The camera can identify the location of markers placed on the screen and their color. iDisplay can also recognize hands making the pinch motion and sends these as touch events via TUIO, so it works with existing touch software. It’s written in C++ using OpenCV for image processing with openFrameworks as the application framework.

[via NUI Group]