Leap Motion Looks To Combine AR & VR With ‘Mirrorworlds’

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Leap Motion dreams big with an ambitious new project that could open ‘alternative dimensions of reality, layered over the physical world.’

AMerican computer hardware manufacturer Leap Motion has released a series of concept videos teasing a technological future where augmented and virtual reality have collided to form a ‘parallel reality’ of sorts.

Dubbed ‘Mirrorworlds,’ these blended realities utilize AR technology to capture and map the real-world, turning physical obstacles such as furniture, the natural environment, even actual people into digital elements which you could then interact with in VR. The result is a theoretically-endless virtual playspace that incorporates anything and everything into the experience.

“As well as transforming our environments, Mirrorworlds can also transform the physical objects within it,” states Leap Motion’s VP of Design, Keiichi Matsuda, in an official company blog post. “We can pick up a pencil, and use it as a magic wand. We can turn our tables into touchscreens. We can access virtual control panels for our connected IoT devices. We will obviously want to use our hands, but we will also use our bodies, our voices. In some cases we might want specialist controllers.”

“Mirrorworlds immerse you without removing you from the space. You are still present, but on a different plane of reality. You will be able to see and engage with other people in your environment, walk around, sit down on a chair. But you can also shoot fireballs, summon complex 3D models, or tear down your walls to look out on a Martian sunrise. Mirrorworlds re-contextualise your space. They change its meaning and purpose, integrating with our daily lives while radically increasing the possibilities for a space.”

Leap Motion hopes the ambitious concept will provide high levels of social interactivity within immersive technology, as opposed to more isolating VR experiences.

“At a basic level, we may just be aware of other people’s presence by making out their shape,” continues Matsuda. “In time, devices will be able to recognise these shapes as people, and replace them with avatars. In both cases, your social context is preserved.  You will be able to stay engaged with the people and environment around you. In fact, we could say that Mirrorworlds move us away from human-computer interfaces, and towards human-environment interfaces, with technology as a mediating filter on our perception.”

Eventually, the company imagines a world where you’re able to walk out your door, take a stroll down the block, and hop on a flight, all without ever interrupting your VR experience. The possible use-case scenarios for this kind of immersive technology is theoretically endless.

Whether it be a doctor providing remote consultation during a live surgical operation, or an unmotivated jogger gaining some much-needed motivation thanks to an oncoming horde of virtual zombies, this blend of VR & AR could revolutionize countless industries.

As for when you can expect this kind of ambitious technology to hit the market, Matsuda remains optimistic:

“This future is closer than you might think. It’s largely possible on today’s hardware, and now the limitations are less about technical constraints, and more in our ability to conceptualize, structure and prioritize the aspects of the world we want to build.”

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