We spent a few minutes watching people putting on goggles and pointing a weird-looking, vaguely bird-shaped device at a large monitor, somehow adding layers to a three-dimensional image of a monstrous creature that would do any sci-fi fan proud. Leonar3Do, we’re told, is the easiest way to create and visualise virtual 3D objects in real space while sitting at your desktop (a teaser picture appeared in last month’s “Editor’s notes”).
In short, it’s an integrated software and hardware platform that offers an immersive VR experience in the sense that you are able to see and interact with your virtual objects in real 3D space. It comes in a kit that includes an installation DVD, VR goggles, motion sensors, and an input device called Bird. Hook these up to your PC, and you’re ready to go.
Leonar3Do runs on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7; Linux and Mac OS X apps are expected to follow. A software development kit allows developers to create new apps or connect any software. Dániel Rátai, founder of Leonar3Do, probably tells it best: “My aim and vision was to make virtual reality available for everyday use. Leo… provides a revolutionary new tool that enables us to interact with our visions in virtual reality.” At a cost, naturally – about R8 000 in the US.