You might remember all the hype behind a magical, Minority Report-style, motion control device that busted out onto the tech-scene this summer. The videos of it in action and the announced price (around $100) made it seem like vaporware, something just too good to be true.
With just the wave of your hand, a twitch of a finger, you’re able to control your computer as if it were a touch screen. How it does all of this is still a bit of a mystery. It does not require cameras like the Kinect or Playstation. The tiny desktop box connects via USB and monitors a field of aerial, phalangeal manipulation at up to eight cubic feet.
The device looks to revolutionize how we interact with our computers. Imagine being able to paint in Photoshop with your finger in the air instead of a stylus scraping a plastic tablet. Imagine modeling a 3D structure in Maya or AutoCad. Immersive gameplay would only get more immersive as your hands become the controllers, much like Kinect but likely more accurate. Of course that is if it ever came out. I preordered mine last June and was under the impression it would be released around Christmas but it never did.
This had me thinking that one of three things was going to happen.
- The Leap Motion controller would flat out never make it to market
- Leap Motion company would get purchased by Google or Apple for the tech
- Leap Motion would be delayed long enough that it lost out to competition
My strongest belief was that Leap Motion was hoping to be acquired. It only seemed to make sense. If I’d created a crazy technology that every software and hardware maker would want incorporated in their products, I’d anxiously await the bids for exclusive access. How would I ensure that there was nothing holding this up? When I did my pre-ordered I wouldn’t accept any money. I figured they didn’t charge me right then and there because they were hoping to never have to go to market with a piece of hardware.
Well I was wrong. Come March 13th, Leap Motion will start shipping out pre-orders. That’s just two weeks away and thus my nerdiness is turned to eleven.
Yesterday it became official that the Leap Motion would indeed be coming out and I got the email from Leap Motion’s Founder and CEO, Michael Buckwald to confirm the news. I’m thoroughly excited and not just because it’s a cool gadget but because this product has promise way beyond cooler games and easier 3D modeling. This provides a level of accessibility never-before seen in human-computer interfaces.
The Leap Motion could read sign language and transcribe it for video chats. People with hand issues like arthritis will be able to point to what they want on the computer and accomplish it without a mouse or stylus. Imagine the learning applications created for young children.
What happens when the Leap Motion technology moves out of the box and into our smart phones? Multitouch without having to touch our phones. Cook in the kitchen with your iPad without getting grease on the screen. Incorporate it into the AppleTV and allow control from the couch, no remote control required. It basically turns any television into the old Microsoft Surface screens. Speaking of which, the Leap Motion would allow all those Windows 8 installations on non-touchscreen computers to have the same experience as the more expensive touch devices.
Leap Motion’s promise greatly outweighs its cost, at just $79. This is something you don’t see nearly often enough these days. I mean just look at Will.i.am’s $475 iPhone camera case…
What do you think of the Leap Motion? Will you be getting one? How will you use it?