Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Rachel Metz

A View from Rachel Metz

Elon Musk Using Leap Motion For Rocket Design

That the SpaceX CEO used the Leap to help create a rocket part suggests the unwieldy gesture controller could be useful one day

  • September 5, 2013

Though I was frustrated just trying to get the Leap Motion 3-D gesture controller to work well with video games (see “Look Before You Leap Motion”), Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is experimenting with a much more complicated use for the device: designing rocket parts.

In a video released Thursday afternoon and narrated by Musk, employees of rocket maker SpaceX are shown using a Leap Motion device to manipulate a virtual rocket engine model, viewing it on several different display technologies, including an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.

The video also shows someone apparently designing a rocket’s cryogenic valve housing, with Musk’s voiceover saying, “You can really apply your intuition and take something from your mind to a physical object with far greater ease than we currently do.”

The video then shows the part being printed by a 3-D laser metal printer.

Though we probably won’t be using gesture-control systems to design many rockets (real or toy) in the near future, the video does give a neat sneak peek at what may eventually be possible as the technology evolves.

The AI revolution is here. Will you lead or follow?
Join us at EmTech Digital 2019.

Register now
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.