You may have heard of it by now, this little 3-inch controller that, once plugged into your computer, allows you to control apps with the smallest of gestures. Think Minority Report, sans the gloves. It’s all very cutting-edge, which is why there was a great deal of chatter in the tech world when the Leap Motion Controller was launched in 2013.
Now it’s one year out and the latest news tidbit about Leap Motion is that the company has had to lay off ten percent of its employees. (This is mostly because the firm had overestimated the number of units they would sell during the all-important holiday season.) Like all new tech endeavours, Leap Motion is going through some growing pains, but this in no way detracts from the fact that Leap Motion technology is altogether impressive and provides a platform that’s versatile enough for millions of possible applications.
How it works
Like Microsoft’s Kinect, the Controller tracks your gestures using LEDs and cameras, but in a vastly more precise way – it tracks the movements of all 10 of your fingers and is accurate up to 1/100th of a millimeter. Just plug it into the USB port, place it in front of the computer and you’ll have 8 cubic feet of virtual, three-dimensional space that you can interact with. According to Leap Motion, it has “a super-wide 150° field of view and a Z-axis for depth” and tracks movements “at a rate of over 200 frames per second.” Its app store, Airspace, features a growing number of apps, many of which are free.
- The Controller is 3″ long, 1.2″ wide and just 0.5″ thick.
- It works with Windows 7 or 8 as well as Mac OS X Lion (10.7).
- It connects by USB.
Where will it go from here?
HP has already embedded Leap Motion technology into some of its computers and the possibilities of Leap Motion technology are already being explored by several startups. The guys at MotionSavvy are using it for their real-time sign language translation product, for example; while Mirror Training has enabled robotic arms with the tech, making them particularly useful for bomb disposal and so on. For the most recent updates on these and other developments, head to http://mashable.com/2014/05/17/leap-motion-demo-day/ and http://www.leapaxlr8r.com/.