Leaping ahead with Hands Free Interfaces

So earlier this week San Francisco based Leap Motion, formally Ocuspec, released their Leap hands free controller. I got a personal demo of the device last week at their office in SOMA district and "Wow"! Developed over the past 4 years, Leap Motion moves far beyond the current technologies designed for hands free control. Leap is an entirely new way to interact with computers that lets you control a computer in three dimensions with your natural hand and finger movements. It's more accurate than a mouse, as reliable as a keyboard, and more sensitive than a touchscreen.

The Leap is a small iPod sized USB peripheral that creates a 3D interaction space of 8 cubic feet to precisely interact with and control software on your laptop or desktop computer. It senses your individual hand and finger movements independently, as well as items like a pen. The Leap can distinguish your individual fingers and track your movements down to a 1/100th of a millimeter.

The company states it’s 200x more sensitive than existing touch-free products and technologies. Now I wouldn't call this device a 'Kinect killer' like some others since it doesn't scan at the same distance, but for up close sensing of an arm swiping through the air or being able to create a precise digital signature with a fingertip it beats the Kinect by far.

 


To date, the company has raised over $14.55 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, SOSventures International and a number of angel investors. It will retail for $69.99, and a limited number are currently available for pre-order at LeapMotion.com. The Leap will work with Windows 7/8 or Mac OS X and Linux support on the agenda.

Leap dev-kits ship in 1-3 months so I am excited to see what developers will do with this device. Seems the future of precise hands free control is here.

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