The Leap Motion turns the area around your computer into a part of a gesture interface. If you’ve ever seen Minority Report where the actor sits in front of the computer and waves their hands around to move elements, that’s essentially how the Leap Motion works. It was inspired by 3D modeling frustration and has endless applications.
Only the size of a USB stick, Leap Motion contains two cameras and three LEDs. It is 100 to 200x more accurate than the XBox Kinect with 0.01 mm resolution and 8 cubic feet of space. The sensors pick up 150 degrees and record at 290 frames per second.
In 2013 when this evaluation was conducted, Leap Motion was still in development with applications still being produced (12,000 SDK). It has the basic functionality you would expect from a gesture interface.
The orientation of the Leap Motion matters. It has to be in the space in front of you, on a table with the sensors facing up. It can turn computers into touch screens. You can also link several Leap Motions up. This allows you to perform actions on multiple surfaces with multiple monitors and from multiple views. It can also be used in conjunction with a keyboard.
While you could use the Leap Motion everyday, it could be applied to gaming, medicine, music, art and other 3D imaging.
Here’s an idea of what’s being developed:
These links will take you to YouTube videos of the development.
Because it is part of a gesture interface, it uses a gesture language (mix of iconic, propositional and deictic languages) and includes a mouse replacement that you can point, drag and receive feedback from.
Next, in order to segment the system’s usage, they made the zone smaller to the point where it should only be picking up your hands. This would help remove some interference. However, laser pointers do affect the system so you would need to know to stay away from those or how to use a laser pointer to manipulate the system accordingly.
In terms of hand restriction, you can use both left and right hands. You can also use pens if you don’t have hands or want a more accurate pinpoint. The Leap Motion is also sensitive for those who can’t move as much. It would be an invaluable tool to those who can’t grip a mouse, but still poses the problem of fatigue.
Lastly, the Leap Motion does provide feedback in terms of a blue button for mouse clicks. It also shows your fingers with different colors and includes a unique screen for vectors.
ASUS is planning to build technology into laptops and the device is selling now. It may replace a mouse or remotes altogether but applications are still in development. Therefore, only time will tell how widely used this device will be. Personally, I’m most excited about the medical applications of the Leap Motion. Using it to train surgeons or for other medical procedures would be revolutionary.