Augmented Reality in the Office: Hackathon Developers Create Futuristic Work Environment With Leap Motion

08 Jul 2015

ARDuring a recent hackathon at Leap Motion, developers created an augmented reality program for a work environment that would take desktop displays and bring them into the 3-D space. Using a prototype Leap sensor, an Oculus Rift headset, and a camera, the team created a fully interactive virtual interface that responds to gestures to navigate through desktop windows and applications.

The interface acts like a layer over displays, adding heightened functionality and support to applications native to the desktop, in addition to providing quick access to features such as video calling, calendar, mail and chat. A running list of notifications, important dates, and tasks also appears to the left of the display, responding to the user’s swiping gesture. It should be noted that Leap Motion isn’t expected to fully replace the traditional keyboard and mouse, but rather provide additional support and functionality—and give you the added benefit of looking really cool while swiping and clicking (and maybe karate chopping) your way through virtual displays suspended in mid-air.

Here at Chaotic Moon Studios, we’ve had a lot of firsthand experience with Leap Motion and Oculus Rift technology, ranging from virtual reality games built in-house like Hulk Smash and Shark Punch (a personal favorite of George Takei) to other creations like our virtual marketplaces for Facebook. That said, we know our way around the tech, and despite the awesome possibilities presented in the video above, we don’t think it’s quite there yet.

“We know that LEAP Motion works great with Oculus Rift,” said Chaotic Moon CEO Ben Lamm. “We were actually the first ones to do that…ever.* But while the tech is cool, we’re still leery about using LEAP sensors in apps based on some user experience issues that we’ve seen arise during development. It’s not practical yet.”

So don’t expect to walk into your cubicle one Monday morning and have a virtual workspace at your disposal—at least not until some serious kinks get ironed out by the brains behind the operation.

“It’s up to software creators to build experiences with shorter reaction time, and hardware and desktops that are compatible with the sensors,” Lamm explained. “The key is tech that makes good on its promises. Until that’s an actual reality, you sure as hell shouldn’t expect a work environment based on augmented reality.”

*But really…we were.