David Holz in AltspaceVR

Our world is on the verge of a radical shift where our physical and digital realities merge and blend together. On Thursday, Leap Motion CTO and co-founder David Holz shared his thoughts on what's happening behind the scenes of the VR industry, and how we can make our new reality feel more human.


  1. David started by walking through some of the insane technologies that we're going to see in the months and years ahead. Some already exist in academia or hardware labs. Others are the Holy Grails that the VR/AR industry is currently working towards – from sensors the size of dust particles, to enabling darkness through material opacity in augmented reality displays, to successive generations of headsets that get smaller and more powerful.
  2. You can find the slides from this part of the presentation in our blog post Soccer Balls and Galaxies.
  3. Physical and virtual reality are on opposite ends of a spectrum, and augmented reality falls somewhere in the middle. But these neat little categories are going to get stretched, broken, and mashed together. "We're going to see runaway AR. Everyone is going to have these transparent glasses... and it goes completely out of control."
  4. Ultimately, the spaces where we live, work, and move will become strange blends of reality and unreality. "Increasingly we will have the ability to poke holes in reality and rewrite things."
  5. For instance, imagine yourself in an airplane. Not really a place to augment, but a place to escape, in between here and there. You sit back and watch a movie on a massive screen in VR. The theater is dark. But from the fog at the bottom of the aisle, the flight attendant walks into your reality, pushing a cart. She can talk to you and offer you a drink without you ever having to leave the theater.
  6. The Q&A kicks off at the 35-minute mark, with "hands up" sounds popping all over the room. Here are some of the highlights:
  7. Q: Can you talk more about what you've seen behind closed doors?

  8. A: "There are lots of crazy sensors that are better than you would think. The processing is going to be a lot less of an issue than people generally believe." If you make specialized processors you can do almost anything.
  9. "There are AR headsets out there behind closed doors with perfect form factors, meaning they look like a pair of glasses and you can't tell. But generally, in the process of getting the perfect form factor right now, you have to sacrifice the display quality."
  10. "So basically there are two different philosophies for AR companies right now. Either you think that the most important thing is form factor, or you think that the most important thing is functionality." It's really wide FOV and great image quality with a goofy form factor, versus beautiful perfect form factors with some huge trade-off for image quality.
  11. We're in a place right now where some large sacrifice is necessary, and no one has the perfect solution. But as an industry, we're on our way.
  12. Q: Will we be able to have full body motion in VR with external sensors?

  13. A: Yes, ultimately the external sensors currently designed for positional tracking will be cameras instead. It will happen relatively soon.
  14. Q: What about haptic feedback?

  15. A: "If you can get the right type of visual and auditory feedback – like when you grab something and it makes a sound, and it moves just in the right way – you get a form of synesthesia. You feel something and it's not there." To try a button and slider example with great audio feedback, check out:  http://blog.leapmotion.com/ui-input-module