updated 08:46 am EDT, Mon May 21, 2012
Leap Motion unveils motion control for Macs and PCs
Leap Motion has taken the covers off its new motion-tracking device for computer interaction. As the video (embedded below) demonstrates, the device maker shows off how the device could potentially replace a mouse and keyboard in a number of computing and gaming contexts. The size of a small flash drive, the Leap is said to be able to allow users to control a computer in three dimensions, tracking natural hand and finger movements down to 1/100th of a millimeter.
To get started, users plug the device in a USB port, install drivers and then calibrate the device. The makers say that the Leap creates a 3D interaction space of 4 cubic feet, allowing users to 'immerse' their hands and fingers into this virtual space and navigate their computers. Users can choose from pre-set motions and gestures, as well as create custom motions. Taking aim at Microsoft's Kinect, the makers claim that it is '200 times more accurate than anything else on the market - at any price.'
If the device performs as well as is suggested in the video, it could bring 'Minority Report' style computing to home users a lot sooner than might have been expected. Users can scroll the web by moving their finger up and down or side to side. Pinch to zoom is recognised as is rotation and using one's finger for pointing, scrolling and clicking. Both Windows and Mac OS X are supported. Microsoft has already released its Kinect for Windows add-on and SDK, although the arrival of the Leap may soon attract Kinect for Windows developers. Sensing an opportunity, Leap Motion has also made an SDK available for developers keen to integrate the device's capabilities into their apps from the ground up.
The Leap is currently available with a limited number of pre-orders being taken at $70 each. International orders are not yet being accommodated, although they will be in the future.