Sunday, September 22, 2013

Skin and Bones for Leap Motion Devices ~ Update

Please see the previous post on this topic:

This morning I built and posted Phalanges R5 - a great improvement over the previous release:

with info here:

The interesting issue in all this is the difference between the methods Leap Motion uses to expose its data and the methods normally used in character animation.

In character animation, all 'bones' are connected. If you move the upper arm then all the bones below move as well.

The Leap provides individual positions and angles data for all the fingers and palms.

Quite frequently you do not have information for all the fingers.

In normal character animation, this is not much of an issue because if you move the palm then any unaccounted fingers will move along with palm automatically.

But with the Leap Motion data, fingertips seen previously may end up sitting frozen in space disjointed from the hand or they may simply disappear. For some people this may be a disconcerting series of events.

[Disclosure: my left hand disappeared a number of years ago never to return, so this sort of thing is no big issue for me. ;-]

The first releases of of Phalanges relied on the fingertips, finger bases and palms all moving and controlled separately. This made for lots of fingers disappearing. The more recent releases followed the idea of all bones being connected and this caused fingertips to move in all sorts of inhuman ways.

The current release is a hybrid. The palm and the finger bases are connected - move the palm and the bases move with it. The fingertips all move independently from each other and from the palm.  This works just fine - until the Leap Motion device decides that a fingertip no longer exists.

So what looks like the next solution to investigate is a hybrid-hybrid solution. When Leap Motion fingertip data is available use the hybrid solution. When Leap Motion data is not available make the Leap fingertips invisible and make a completely connected finger visible. When the Leap finger data is again available, switch out the fingers.

Now all this may seem a wee bit complicated and you would think that sticking just a single joint between tip and palm would be no big deal. And you would be quite right. And you would be really, really smart because your brain would know how to crawl in and out and all over things like inverse kinematics and be prepared to lots more code and include more libraries

But that sort of thing is way beyond my skill level. My brain starts to fatigue when an app is over 300 lines. The current app is at 222 lines. With a bit of luck we can have a skinnable phalanges release that even my little brain may grasp...