Alternative input and control of computers seems to be flavour of the month. We just had the news of The Microsoft Kinect for Windows software updates and also there’s an entirely new motion controller being readied for computer enthusiasts. The new USB device is called The Leap and the developers say it’s cheaper, smaller and more accurate than Kinect for Windows.
Below is a video that gives a quick demonstration of the new device’s capabilities.
The Leap “creates a 3D interaction space of 8 cubic feet to precisely interact with and control software on your laptop or desktop computer.” Claims over the accuracy of the device are astonishing “The Leap senses your individual hand and finger movements independently, as well as items like a pen. In fact, it’s 200x more sensitive than existing touch-free products and technologies. It’s the difference between sensing an arm swiping through the air and being able to create a precise digital signature with a fingertip or pen.” You can see some of these interactions in the video and the video is of an actual device in operation rather than a pre-rendered example of the capabilities.
The Leap has been developed over 4 years, however there is little information given about the technology behind this new device. ExtremeTech guess that it’s either infrared light RADAR based or a high res version of the Kinect (which only uses a VGA res camera). The company says the inspiration for developing The Leap came from 3D modeling work being unnatural and slow compared to modeling in the real world with our hands and clay.
You can pre-order The Leap now for $70, it requires Windows 7 or above, or Mac OS X. Though you will have to wait until at least Q4 2012 which is quite a while away. The company says “We’re distributing thousands of kits to qualified developers, because, well, we want to see what kinds of incredible things you can all do with our technology.” So we might be able to see quite a lot more of The Leap before general release to the end consumer market. With such excellent sensitivity to slight movement users should be able to interact with computers using only minimal movements which might avoid “gorilla arm syndrome” all together. Hopefully we will see some demonstrations showing the amazing accuracy claims for the device are not just hyperbole.