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Leap Motion opens door to reach into virtual worlds

California virtual reality startup Leap Motion on Wednesday opened a door for makers of games or other applications to literally touch virtual worlds.

The San Francisco firm is using its expertise in computer tracking of hands and fingers to let people manipulate things in virtual reality with the kind of dexterity that they do in the real world.

Leap Motion released "Orion," a combination of hardware and software that lets people use their hands to interact naturally with virtual environments instead of merely watching or needing to use controllers.

"I'm not just being shown a digital space, I am actually in a digital space," Leap Motion co-founder David Holz told AFP while providing a demonstration of Orion.

"It is a seminal point where technology is just another material in there world; there are atoms and electrons and then bits and bytes all just one thing, and that is pretty awesome."

Virtual reality is among current hot technology trends, with Facebook-owned Oculus taking pre-orders for eagerly-awaited Rift headgear and Sony poised to field a rival device that works with PlayStation video game consoles.

Eyewear designed to hold smartphones that act as screens for virtual reality experiences is already offered by an array of companies including Google and South Korean consumer technology colossus Samsung.

Even Apple is reported to have a team secretly working on virtual and augmented reality gear in a budding challenge to Oculus Rift and Microsoft HoloLens.

Microsoft is expected to release a developers version of HoloLens augmented reality visors this year.

'Critical' to winning fans

Unlike virtual reality which immerses people in fictional worlds, augmented reality makes information appear to float in the real world.

California-based Apple has not commented on reports it is exploring virtual reality, but chief executive Tim Cook voiced interest during a quarterly earnings call last month.

While video game players have been natural early targets for virtual reality, the technology is being put to use for education, medicine, sports, pornography and more.

"Having hands is critical for virtual reality to go mainstream," Leap Motion co-founder and chief executive Michael Buckwald told AFP.

"Many thousands of years of evolution have given us the ability to use our hands to do incredibly complicated things in a way that, to us, seems automatic."

Orion software will work with Leap Motion hand-tracking sensors already on the market, and the company is collaborating with gadget makers to build Orion into consumer devices, according to the co-founders.

"The general notion of virtual reality is that it should be as much like reality as possible," Holz said.

"Having your hands is a natural thing."

Most virtual reality gear demonstrated thus far have immersed people in faux worlds as spectators or used hand-held controllers for interacting with fantasy environments.

Orion was built from the ground up specifically for virtual reality.

"It's radically smoother, faster, more reliable, and far more capable than even the best of what's existed before," Holz said.

Developers can download Orion software free online at leapmotion.com/developers if they want to try it out on devices that use the company's sensors.

"The holy grail of virtual reality is a sense of total immersion and presence," Buckwald said.

"We're enabling developers and (equipment makers) to create that type of experience."

 Explore further: Zuckerberg sees 'wild' future for virtual reality

Source: http://phys.org/news/2016-02-motion-door-virtual-worlds.html#nRlv

/ About us

Founded by Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov in February 2011 with the participation of leading Russian specialists in the field of neural interfaces, robotics, artificial organs and systems.

The main goals of the 2045 Initiative: the creation and realization of a new strategy for the development of humanity which meets global civilization challenges; the creation of optimale conditions promoting the spiritual enlightenment of humanity; and the realization of a new futuristic reality based on 5 principles: high spirituality, high culture, high ethics, high science and high technologies. 

The main science mega-project of the 2045 Initiative aims to create technologies enabling the transfer of a individual’s personality to a more advanced non-biological carrier, and extending life, including to the point of immortality. We devote particular attention to enabling the fullest possible dialogue between the world’s major spiritual traditions, science and society.

A large-scale transformation of humanity, comparable to some of the major spiritual and sci-tech revolutions in history, will require a new strategy. We believe this to be necessary to overcome existing crises, which threaten our planetary habitat and the continued existence of humanity as a species. With the 2045 Initiative, we hope to realize a new strategy for humanity's development, and in so doing, create a more productive, fulfilling, and satisfying future.

The "2045" team is working towards creating an international research center where leading scientists will be engaged in research and development in the fields of anthropomorphic robotics, living systems modeling and brain and consciousness modeling with the goal of transferring one’s individual consciousness to an artificial carrier and achieving cybernetic immortality.

An annual congress "The Global Future 2045" is organized by the Initiative to give platform for discussing mankind's evolutionary strategy based on technologies of cybernetic immortality as well as the possible impact of such technologies on global society, politics and economies of the future.


Future prospects of "2045" Initiative for society


The emergence and widespread use of affordable android "avatars" controlled by a "brain-computer" interface. Coupled with related technologies “avatars’ will give people a number of new features: ability to work in dangerous environments, perform rescue operations, travel in extreme situations etc.
Avatar components will be used in medicine for the rehabilitation of fully or partially disabled patients giving them prosthetic limbs or recover lost senses.


Creation of an autonomous life-support system for the human brain linked to a robot, ‘avatar’, will save people whose body is completely worn out or irreversibly damaged. Any patient with an intact brain will be able to return to a fully functioning  bodily life. Such technologies will  greatly enlarge  the possibility of hybrid bio-electronic devices, thus creating a new IT revolution and will make  all  kinds of superimpositions of electronic and biological systems possible.


Creation of a computer model of the brain and human consciousness  with the subsequent development of means to transfer individual consciousness  onto an artificial carrier. This development will profoundly change the world, it will not only give everyone the possibility of  cybernetic immortality but will also create a friendly artificial intelligence,  expand human capabilities  and provide opportunities for ordinary people to restore or modify their own brain multiple times.  The final result  at this stage can be a real revolution in the understanding of human nature that will completely change the human and technical prospects for humanity.


This is the time when substance-independent minds will receive new bodies with capacities far exceeding those of ordinary humans. A new era for humanity will arrive!  Changes will occur in all spheres of human activity – energy generation, transportation, politics, medicine, psychology, sciences, and so on.

Today it is hard to imagine a future when bodies consisting of nanorobots  will become affordable  and capable of taking any form. It is also hard to imagine body holograms featuring controlled matter. One thing is clear however:  humanity, for the first time in its history, will make a fully managed evolutionary transition and eventually become a new species. Moreover,  prerequisites for a large-scale  expansion into outer space will be created as well.


Key elements of the project in the future

• International social movement
• social network immortal.me
• charitable foundation "Global Future 2045" (Foundation 2045)
• scientific research centre "Immortality"
• business incubator
• University of "Immortality"
• annual award for contribution to the realization of  the project of "Immortality”.

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