Prepare for a new method of interacting with your computer. Leap Motion, a product developed by David Holz allows you to ditch the track pad and mouse and use your hands to directly manipulate your computer screen. Best part, you won’t have to worry about smearing fingerprints all over the screen.
Leap Motion is a small device that functions for windows 7 and 8, as well as Macs. The product sells for $80 and users need only plug into their computer and download the software to set it up. Users place their hands in a conic zone above the device which can track tiny movements as small as .001 millimeters. From there, users can paint, sculpt, browse and play other games.
The technology Leap Motion uses isn’t particularly new. Similar technology already exists with a prominent example being Microsoft’s Kinect. Holz and the company that developed Leap Motion have yet to divulge information how the device actually functions but they did mention that it is completely different from the Kinect and have demonstrated that it is significantly more precise and advanced. However, Holz’ partner Buckwald did make sure to mention that Leap Motion uses a very small portion of a single core CPU with technology available ten years ago.
As impressive as the technology is, it still has its downsides. First there is the actual space that the hands need to be placed in order for Leap Motion to function properly. While it is less of a problem if the appliance Leap Motion being used with is mounted on a raised platform that a person has to stand to use, most people will probably be sitting when they’re using the appliances they already own. While seated, Leap Motion becomes a strenuous device to use over time. Next, there is the lack of any tactile feedback when manipulating on screen objects. This seems to be the opposite of a problem with Microsoft’s 3-D touchscreen which gives tactile feedback, but still must be touched by users. Lastly, small quirks such as the wonky push-in-to-click functionality can be vexing to users.
Despite its flaws, Leap Motion has possibilities. Coupled with technology like Google glass, the technology could go further than it could on its own.