Project Overview

General Project Overview

 This project aims to explore the possibilities of human-computer interaction using the Leap Motion controller. The Leap provides a way to easily sense and track 3D surfaces within an 8 cubic foot range above it. We want to leverage this potential to allow users to fully operate a computer by using their hands in mid-air.

Detailed Project Overview

   The goal of this project is to attempt a new solution to a long-existing problem: the divide between real-world interfaces and computer interfaces. Currently, operating systems generally have a large learning curve. Humans are not accustomed to two-dimensional interfaces. Much research has been done in this area, and so far the keyboard, mouse, and trackpad have been the dominant methods of interaction. The mouse and trackpad allow the user to easily move in 2D space, require minimal physical exertion, and now provide many convenience functions such as gesture support and scroll-wheels. However, they still have many issues such as the lack of easy navigation in 3D spaces, which are becoming increasingly common in today’s environments (3D design, gaming, physics simulations), and the steep learning curve one must go through to learn how far and fast to move a mouse to produce the desired effect on-screen. We hope to solve all of these problems with the Leap Motion controller. The advantage of sensing a user’s hands is that the user has spent almost every day of their life using their hands and becoming skilled at maneuvering them. If we can tap into that potential, we can completely remove the learning curve needed to navigate an operating system. Furthermore, there are an infinite number of states that a user’s hands can be in, and an infinite number of gestures that users already use in their daily lives. Sensing these and mapping them to appropriate events on the system can also work towards minimizing the learning curve. Lastly, we consider many use cases in which users prefer not to have direct contact with any surfaces. Chefs working in kitchens or doctors working in hospitals would benefit from not having to touch a keyboard or mouse, and this is a problem the Leap can solve.