When the Leap Motion controller was first shown as a concept I jumped at the chance to shell out some cash to grab one just so I could see it with my own eyes and experience the concept that is gesture control for your existing computer. I’ve had a bit of time to play with it – as have the kids, here’s what I think.
This is the future of computer control – or part thereof. Keyboard, Mouse, Touch-screens and now Gestures. The idea here is that without touching a thing you can influence the actions on your screen. We’ve seen this at its best with the Xbox Kinect from Microsoft in the lounge rooms of families across the world bringing controller-free gaming to anyone willing to give it a go – and the Kinect concept is tough to follow.
Leap Motion is a small – in fact tiny – unit that plugs into the USB port of your PC or Mac and after some software is installed you can do a huge range of things without even touching your mouse or keyboard.
Inside the Leap Motion are a couple of cameras, sensors and high-tech jiggery pokery. It sits on your desk in front of your monitor or keyboard and looks upward to the ceiling. When you raise your hand or hands above it you get control of the app on-screen with just the twinkling of your fingertips.
The setup software itself is mind-blowing. You go from wiping at the air to move strands of colour around the screen to a screen which shows your hands on-screen in wire-frame form. Every move you make is replicated on-screen, showing clearly on your screen what the Leap Motion is capable of “seeing”.
This is quite frankly the most amazing piece of technology I’ve ever owned. Not because of the way it’s changed how I use my computer, but for what it could do and for the price it cost.
You can order a Leap Motion online for under $120 ($110.98) including delivery, but should you? Only if you want to impress your family and friends with the technology.
Playing Cut-The-Rope is fun with Leap Motion, but its nothing like as easy as using a touch-screen tablet. Controlling your computer is much easier with a mouse or trackpad.
Take yourself over to Google Earth though and you’ll really have some fun. Using one hand as the controller you can fly around the world zooming in and out of areas of interest with complete joy. This is the best way to experience the powerful Google mapping software I’ve yet seen. However, I’m not sure that’s enough to warrant the purchase.
As I say, this is the future, I can imagine this technology being included in keyboards and laptops of the future allowing the use of gestures in your daily experience.
The “App Store” for Leap Motion is impressive and really shows the support this device has across the tech-community. Well worth a look if you’re an avid geek!
Web: Leap Motion