The Leap Motion SDK for Web 3D Developers


(T) I attended this week at the HTML 5 Developer Conference, a presentation from Leap Motion about its latest SDK for Web Developers. But before to get into the SDK, let’s understand how the Leap Motion 3D controller works.

First, it can be placed on a notebook or desktop facing upward (or integrated to it such as it is the case with the HP ENVY17 Leap Motion notebook).

Second, the controller can track 3D gestures of the 10 fingers, two hands, or any pencil hold in one hand, moving in front of the computer screen. It divides the user 3D space into two separate domains: one closer to the user body, which is for “hovering,” and one closer to the display, which is for “touching”. It provides a 150° field of view and a Z-axis for depth, and tracks moves which cross into the observed area, to a spatial precision of about 0.01 mm at over 220 frames per second.

The controller leverages three infrared LEDs that generate the light, toward the fingers or the hands, which reflected is captured by two monochromatic IR cameras. The 2D data from each camera is sent by the controller to a USB port to be analyzed by the Leap Motion Controller software to generate the 3D interactions of the user with the application.

The Leap Motion SDK provides all the APIs to recognize fingers, hands and finger-like tools such as pencils, to interact with the user gestures such as circles, swipes, taps, and to track and interpret the user movements when scaling, translating or rotating. The SDK is available for the Mac O/S, Windows, and Linux and integrated with multiple languages (C++, Java, JavaScript, Python…) and likely soon to be integrated to popular Web front-end development framework.

Airspace, the Leap Motion app store, has already many apps for games and entertainment, science, productivity, and other fields.

Following is a video about the Leap Motion controller, software, and SDK:

Elon Musk, in a very popular YouTube video, has used the Leap Motion Controller as well as other technologies from Siemens NX’s product design software, Oculus’s Virtual Reality, and nVIDIAs’ 3D technologies to inspire us about the future of CAD design software with hand gestures:

Note: The picture above is Elon Musk in the future of Design!

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Categories: Front-End