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Exclusive: Validating an Experimental Shortcut Interface with Flaming Arrows & Paper Planes



Last time, we detailed our initial explorations of single-handed shortcuts systems. After some experimentation, we converged on a palm-up pinch to open a four-way rail system. Today we’re excited to share the second half of our design exploration along with a downloadable demo on the Leap Motion Gallery.

Guest Article by Barrett Fox & Martin Schubert

Barrett is the Lead VR Interactive Engineer for Leap Motion. Through a mix of prototyping, tools and workflow building with a user driven feedback loop, Barrett has been pushing, prodding, lunging, and poking at the boundaries of computer interaction.

Martin is Lead Virtual Reality Designer and Evangelist for Leap Motion. He has created multiple experiences such as Weightless, Geometric, and Mirrors, and is currently exploring how to make the virtual feel more tangible.

Barrett and Martin are part of the elite Leap Motion team presenting substantive work in VR/AR UX in innovative and engaging ways.

We found the shortcuts system comfortable, reliable, and fast to use. It also felt embodied and spatial since the system didn’t require users to look at it to use it. Next it was time to put it to the test in a real-world setting. How would it hold up when we were actually trying to do something else with our hands?

We discussed a few types of potential use cases:

#1. Direct abstract commands. In this scenario, the system could be used to directly trigger abstract commands. For example, in a drawing application either hand could summon the shortcut system – left to undo, right to redo, forward to zoom in, or backwards to zoom out.

#2. Direct contextual commands. What if one hand could choose an action to take upon an object being held by the other hand? For example, picking up an object with your left hand and using your right hand to summon the shortcut system – forward to duplicate the object in place, backward to delete it, or left/right to change its material.

#3. Tool adjustments. The system could also be used to adjust various parameters of a currently active tool or ability. For example, in the same drawing application your dominant hand might have the ability to pinch to draw in space. The same hand could summon the shortcut system and translate left/right to decrease/increase brush size.

#4. Mode switching. Finally, the system could be used to switch between different modes or tools. Again in a drawing application, each hand could use the shortcut system to switch between free hand direct manipulation, a brush tool, an eraser tool, etc. Moreover, by independently tool-switching with each hand, we could quickly equip interesting combinations of tools.

Of these options, we felt that mode switching would test our system the most thoroughly. By designing a set of modes or abilities that required diverse hand movements, we could validate that the shortcuts system wouldn’t get in the way while still being quickly and easily accessible.

Mode Switching and Pinch Interactions

In thinking about possible abilities we’d like to be able to switch between, we kept returning to pinch-based interactions. Pinching, as we discussed in our last blog post, is a very powerful bare handed interaction for a few reasons:

  • It’s a gesture that most people are familiar with and can do with minimal ambiguity, making it simple to successfully execute for new users.
  • It’s a low-effort action, requiring only movement of your thumb and index fingers. As a result, it’s suitable for high-frequency interactions.
  • Its success is very well-defined for the user who gets self-haptic feedback when their finger and thumb make contact.

However, having an ability triggered by pinching does have drawbacks, as false triggers are common. For this reason, having a quick and easy system to enable, disable, and switch between pinch abilities turned out to be very valuable. This led us to design a set of pinch powers to test our shortcut system.

Pinch Powers!

We designed three pinch powers, leaving one shortcut direction free as an option to disable all pinch abilities and use free hands for regular direct manipulation. Each pinch power would encourage a different type of hand movement to test whether the shortcut system would still function as intended. We wanted to create powers that were interesting to use individually but could also be combined to create interesting pairs, taking advantage of each hand’s ability to switch modes independently.

The Plane Hand

For our first power, we used pinching to drive a very common action: throwing. Looking to the physical world for inspiration, we found that paper plane throwing was a very expressive action with an almost identical base motion. By pinching and holding to spawn a new paper plane, then moving your hand and releasing, we could calculate the average velocity of your pinched fingers over a certain number of frames prior to release and feed that into the plane as a launch velocity.

Using this first ability together with the shortcuts system revealed a few conflicts. A common way to hold your hand while pinching a paper plane is with your palm facing up and slightly inwards with your pinky furthest away from you. This fell into the gray area between the palm direction angles defined as ‘facing away from the user’ and ‘facing toward the user’. To avoid false positives, we adjusted the thresholds slightly until the system was not triggered accidentally.

To recreate the aerodynamics of a paper plane, we used two different forces. The first added force is upwards, relative to the plane, determined by the magnitude of the plane’s current velocity. This means a faster throw produces a stronger lifting force.

The other force is a little less realistic but helps make for more seamless throws. It takes the current velocity of a plane and adds torque to bring its forward direction, or nose, inline with that velocity. This means a plane thrown sideways will correct its forward heading to match its movement direction.

With these aerodynamic forces in play, even small variations in throwing angle and direction resulted in a wide variety of plane trajectories. Planes would curve and arc in surprising ways, encouraging users to try overhanded, underhanded, and side-angled throws.

In testing, we found that during these expressive throws, users often rotated their palms into poses which would unintentionally trigger the shortcut system. To solve this we simply disabled the ability to open the shortcut system while pinching.

Besides these fixes for palm direction conflicts, we also wanted to test a few solutions to minimize accidental pinches. We experimented with putting an object in a user’s pinch point whenever they had a pinch power enabled. The intention was to signal to the user that the pinch power was ‘always on.’ When combined with glowing fingertips and audio feedback driven by pinch strength, this seemed successful in reducing the likelihood of accidental pinches.

We also added a short scaling animation to planes as they spawned. If a user released their pinch before the plane was fully scaled up the plane would scale back down and disappear. This meant that short unintentional pinches wouldn’t spawn unwanted planes, further reducing the accidental pinch issue.

The Bow Hand

For our second ability we looked at the movement of pinching, pulling back, and releasing. This movement was used most famously on touchscreens as the central mechanic of Angry Birds and more recently adapted to three dimensions in Valve’s The Lab: Slingshot.

Virtual slingshots have a great sense of physicality. Pulling back on a sling and seeing it lengthen while hearing the elastic creak gives a visceral sense of the potential energy of the projectile, satisfyingly realized when launched. For our purposes, since we could pinch anywhere in space and pull back, we decided to use something a little more lightweight than a slingshot: a tiny retractable bow.

Pinching expands the bow and attaches the bowstring to your pinched fingers. Pulling away from the original pinch position in any direction stretches the bowstring and notches an arrow. The longer the stretch, the greater the launch velocity on release. Again we found that users rotated their hands while using the bow into poses where their palm direction would accidentally trigger the shortcut system. Once again, we simply disabled the ability to open the shortcut system, this time while the bow was expanded.

To minimize accidental arrows spawning from unintentional pinches, we again employed a slight delay after pinching before notching a new arrow. However, rather than being time-based like the plane spawning animation, this time we defined a minimum distance from the original pinch. Once reached, this spawns and notches a new arrow.

The Time Hand

For our last ability, we initially looked at the movement of pinching and rotating as a means of controlling time. The idea was to pinch to spawn a clock and then rotate the pinch to turn a clock hand, dialing the time scale down or back up. In testing, however, we found that this kind of pinch rotation actually only had a small range of motion before becoming uncomfortable.

Since there wasn’t much value in having a very small range of time-scale adjustment, we decided to simply make it a toggle instead. For this ability, we replaced the pinch egg with a clock that sits in the user’s pinch point. At normal speed the clock ticks along quite quickly, with the longer hand completing a full rotation each second. Upon pinching, the clock time is slowed to one-third normal speed, the clock changes color, and the longer hand slows to complete a full rotation in one minute. Pinching the clock again restores time to normal speed.

Continued on Page 2: Mixing & Matching

The post Exclusive: Validating an Experimental Shortcut Interface with Flaming Arrows & Paper Planes appeared first on Road to VR.



Bitcoin Price Will Skyrocket as Markets Riddled by Election Uncertainty, Analyst Says



Octavio Marenzi, founder and CEO of capital markets consultancy firm Opimas LLC, recently predicted that the current economic situation will shoot Bitcoin’s price “through the roof.”

Simultaneously, he suggested that the traditional financial markets will suffer as the COVID-19 fears grow.

Opimas CEO: Bitcoin Will Shoot Through The Roof

Appearing on RT’s Boom Bust, Marenzi was asked about the current state of the financial world and his prediction by the end of the year. He seemed somewhat cautious in providing precise numbers. Nevertheless, the CEO of Opimas outlined four factors that he believes drive the markets now.

According to Marenzi, those are the growing spread of the coronavirus, the stimulus deal proposed by the US government, the Federal Reserve’s policy, and the 2020 US presidential elections. He emphasized the importance of the upcoming vote as “people are starting to get nervous about that.”

The elections’ unknown developments could lead to a “messy” outcome, resulting in even more concerns among investors. Such circumstances could prompt severe price drops within traditional financial assets. However, Bitcoin might emerge as the winner.

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“There’s a substantial chance that it’s going to be a contested election and will be very, very messy indeed. We will see the markets overall trending down, while things like Bitcoin shooting through the roof.”

Opimas CEO Octavio Marenzi
Opimas CEO Octavio Marenzi. Source: CNBC

COVID-19 Second Wave To Damage The Markets?

Once reports started emerging in early 2020 that a new virus coming from China was infecting people, the financial world took a beating. The worst came in mid-March during the so-called liquidity crisis, which saw massive price slumps among all assets.

The markets have mostly recovered since then, but the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t disappeared. In fact, it seems that the dreaded second wave has just begun to develop. The number of confirmed cases grew above 40 million on Monday.

Several countries, mostly in Western Europe, have brought back some of the strict restrictions. Those include even full lockdowns.

Apart from health concerns, this also raises worries among investors. Bitcoin was not exempt from the first price drops, as it plummeted by over 50% in a day.

However, BTC is among the best-performing assets on a yearly-scale, with its 65% increase. Should Marenzi’s words materialize, the primary cryptocurrency could see even further long-term price appreciation.


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Bitcoin Dominance at 2-Month High: Disaster for Altcoins



August was a bullish month for altcoin traders as they ranked in profits, forcing Bitcoin dominance to drop below 60% for the first time since the start of the year. However, the altcoin euphoria was shortlived as September brought along the bears.

The end of Q3 wasn’t great for Bitcoin traders, but that was expected as September is usually not a profitable month for Bitcoin. In fact, data shows that Bitcoin has lost more in September than in any other month.

As expected, the Bitcoin effect was seen across boards in the market. Altcoins suffered the most, shredding almost all of the profits accumulated in the previous month.

Bitcoin Eyes $12K

Bitcoin is pushing hard towards the $12k mark. It traded as high as $11,942 for the first time since mid-August.

Analysts believe the trend is the start of a new bull cycle for the leading cryptocurrency considering the coin shielded itself and recovered quickly from the recent negative news, including BitMEX’s charges and OKEx’s withdrawal saga.

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Although October has been impressive for Bitcoin, and the coin has since recovered from the bearish move in September, altcoins continue to live in the terrible nightmare from the past month.

October: Another Nightmare For Altcoins

Bitcoin dominance started rising in mid-September after it went as low as 55%. At the time of writing, the cryptocurrency maintains a 60.3% dominance of the entire crypto market while the altcoins struggle with 39.7%.

Bitcoin Dominance. Source: CoinMarketCap

Even Ether (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency, was not spared. In August, the coin traded near the $500 mark, reaching $485 for the first time in two years. In the last two months, Ether lost over 20% of its value, and market dominance dropped from above 15% to 11%.

Now, ETH is exchanging hands at $369 with a 2% loss on the daily chart. However, speculation in the market is that the upcoming ETH 2.0 Phase 0 could provide the needed boost for Ether bulls.

Looking at the top 100, a handful of altcoins have shredded at least 15% of their value on today’s trading session. Some of the most significant losers include Uniswap (-17%), (-25%), Balancer (-19%). Meanwhile, Flexacoin saw a big boost with over 258.11% gains in the last 24 hours.


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Blockchain Integrates PayID Offering 5M Users an Easy and Unique Way to Send & Receive Crypto




HONG KONG, October 19, 2020 — today announced PayID, a universal payment identity developed by the Open Payments Coalition, is now available on the App.’s 5M+ users can register for a PayID from the app, consolidating complex wallet addresses and accounts into a simple ID that works across any payment network and currency. Users who register for their unique PayID will get an exclusive, easy-to-read ID — such as “yourname$ — that enables users to send/receive crypto payments from other compatible wallets with just a single ID, easing their ability to connect to 100M+ crypto users worldwide.


PayID solves a key pain point in the crypto payments world, which consists of many closed and complex networks. Participants must manage multiple long and random wallet addresses, increasing the likelihood of erroneous transactions. PayID creates a free, open and common protocol that allows for interoperability between any payment network or currency.

Starting today, is offering early access for select customers to register their unique PayID. To be eligible:

  • Stake 10,000 CRO or more in Exchange; or
  • Stake 10,000 CRO or more in App

On 2 November 2020 all App users can register their own PayID within the App.

Once registered, users can send crypto from other compatible wallets to the App with just their PayID, instead of a full-length crypto address. At launch, supported cryptocurrencies include CRO, ETH, BTC, XRP and many more ERC20 tokens. Users can also send crypto to other compatible wallets using PayID hosted by other members in the Open Payments Coalition.

About was founded in 2016 on a simple belief: it’s a basic human right for everyone to control their money, data and identity. serves over 5 million customers today, providing them with a powerful alternative to traditional financial services through the App, the Card, the Exchange and DeFi Wallet. is built on a solid foundation of security, privacy and compliance and is the first cryptocurrency company in the world to have ISO/IEC 27701:2019, CCSS Level 3, ISO27001:2013 and PCI:DSS 3.2.1, Level 1 compliance. is headquartered in Hong Kong with a 600+ strong team. Find out more by visiting


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