The Device That Is (Apparently) 200 Times More Accurate Than Kinect

The above motion control device 'Leap' is being developed by Leap Motion. According to their team it is 200 hundred times more accurate than anything else on the market, can distinguish between individual fingers, and track your movement to 1/100th of a millimetre. Could this be a device that changes, or at the very least evolves, the way we use motion controls in gaming?

"[Kinect] isn't particularly good at tracking things like fingers," said Leap Motion CEO Michael Buckwald, in an great interview with Eurogamer. "We're able to track 10 fingers... That let's people do things like mold a virtual piece of clay, or even something basic like pinch to zoom. All of those things are incredibly difficult for something with the accuracy of Kinect."

Incredibly Leap costs the same to develop as Kinect and can be pre-ordered on Leap's site now for only $69.99

Leap was not designed for consoles, and while game developers have applied to work with the device, gaming is not its primary function.

"Ultimately this technology was created not for casual gaming," Buckwald told Eurogamer, "but to let people do real things and let them do it in a way that is sporadically better than having to do it with the mouse and keyboard."

Still, it's fascinating technology, and one that bodes well for the future of similar technology designed specifically for games. If Leap Motion can do this, at this price range, surely others can do the same for games -- and that includes Microsoft.

Leap: The future of motion control? [Eurogamer]


    I can't wait for the Leap, it looks like a great accessory for a PC, and I was going to pre-order it (it's pretty cheap for the nifty piece of technology it is) but you won't be receiving it for another 6-8 months! (February 2012). I'll definitely buy it once it gets a bit closer.

    Imagine the possibilities if you combine the Oculus Rift and this. I love technology.

      Awww droool. That would be an amazing combo. I was just thinking about how you'd need some dual hand controller like the Razer Hydra to really gel with the Rift, but this could be so much better. Now we just need to simulate tactility and we have the makings of a holodeck.

      This is all so new and exciting, I can't wait to see what applications this all has as these technologies mature and integrate.

    I've preordered this little fellow. $80, over the space of 6 months, won't be missed.

    I can be Iron Man with this, which is almost half as good as being Batman. Baby steps, baby steps.

    Yeah I saw this a few weeks ago and was surprised at how cheap it is. If it actually works as well as they claim then it could be very useful for some applications. But I just don't see it being used instead of a mouse very much. Who wants to sit in front of a computer with your hands suspended in the air manipulating what's on screen ? I think its better than touch screen since your fingers won't be blocking what you are trying to see, but next to a traditional mouse I don't see many advantages. But for only $70 you cant really go to wrong.

      The big advantage would be the ability to track 3 dimensional movement, rather than just 2.
      For 3d work, this could be a huge plus.

    whats the bet they're breaking some patents of microsofts and will get shutdown.

    Also I strongly believe M$ will probably have this technology with kinect 2 anyway.

      Oh, how cute, he used a dollar sign instead of the S in MS. Because Microsoft like to make money, unlike every other company in existence.

      If you've seen what's happening in the mobile space, MS don't tend to shut groups down for using their patents, even their competitors. They just make them license it for $X a pop, and everyone leaves more or less amicably.

        Yes I believe the sue for patent infringement to shut out competition is from the Apple school of business at the moment.

        Oh how cute, you've been using the internet for what maybe a year now?

        M$ has been used on the net for over 10 years and is an acceptable shortening of the name.

      More likely "M$" would just buy them out... and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    If it can be used with the device placed in front of the keyboard, so you can just rest your arm on the desk and only raise your hand a little, then I can see this kind of tech really taking off...otherwise, apart from some specialist roles, not many people will want to hold their arms up in front of their screens all the time.

      The Leap is so accurate that you can interact with the full size of a monitor by only moving your finger a few millimetres (like how Wiimotes just have to point where you mean, you don't need to move your hand).

    I have two on pre-order, as I actually have uses for such devices (not gaming related) and the artistic possibility is worth messing with. When I saw a potential use was to use things like real brushes to change brush size on the fly in Photoshop, or use ALL my fingers to sculpt... I am keen to try it out. This kind of tech will allow a lot of good artits to start using the digital space.

      This guy gets it. My first thought when I saw this was plug this into Mudbox or ZBrush, and you have an amazing digital sculpting environment.

        Yeah this could be awesome for ZBrush.
        I found I was horrible at sculpting with a mouse. I can make 3D engineering models easily but not sculpting...

    200 times more accurate than kinect? what about 2000 times more accurate than kinect like the mouse, gamepad, keyboard etc? i'm pretty sure i could standing a few meters from my xbox controller throwing tennis balls at it and i'd still end up with a control technique 200 times more accurate than kinect.

    the kinect is cool tech, but is not currently a functional gaming device. This leap looks like even cooler tech, and may be a small step towards being useful as a control device, but it looks like it (like the kinect) has much better applications than doing a terrible job of replacing your mouse or gamepad

    I wonder what the update rate of it is though. I wonder if this is usable for head tracking.

      Its faster than the refresh rate of a digital monitor, you shouldn't be able to notice any lag.

    Mark, are you sure this is legit?

    The credit card section of their site seems dodgy as and I've had my card details knicked twice before....


      They have a lot of attention, too much to be some kind of weird scam now I would think? Lots of 'hands on' vids out there too. So they went to all the trouble of inventing a cool device (that works) only to steal peoples CC numbers? Mmm... I am more worried they will sell out and the device will disappear into a vault.

      The site isn't well crafted, but its definitely legit. They've let countless mainstream tech journalists go hands-on with the device, and they all come back saying the same thing; the tech is real, and it is awesome.

    Did he just play Angry Birds with Fucking Chopsticks!?!

    Any mention of input lag ? Accuracy is great but it needs its pal Responsiveness

      The input lag is in the order of a few ms, and is less than the refresh rate of a digital monitor (stated by the Leap Motion CTO many times).

        That is reassuring, but its only one part of the equation - The lag between getting the data and processing useful information out of it (tracking, identification, etc) is what is important. Its that end-to-end lag that is the cause for concern with these devices.

          I'm actually not sure about this, but the many tech journalists that have gone for hands-on demos (there are countless vids of these on youtube) have reported none to negligible lag in the demos (and it can be seen by the interactions themselves in the videos that its almost instant).

    These sorts of things always pique our interest from the gaming angle, and it could certainly be cool if it was implemented properly. I think this thing will be totally useful for design artists, as pointed out above - and also people with limited mobility, or arthritis, or any other of the billion ailments out there which stop people being able to use the primary computer inputs properly.
    For someone with dodgey wrists, for example, manipulating a cursor with their fingers rather than a mouse would be a godsend. And if it means real-time inventory crafting in gaming then, well, I'm just fine with that.

    I pre ordered one the day it was announced. The leap is going to be awesome, it wont make mice and keyboards obsolete but will fill a need in between the two, It only a matter of time before we see it built into Laptops and phones.

    Would have loved to see some full body+finger tracking stuff in the video but I am very interested in trying one of these out when they're released.

    Kinect can be fun to play with in some simple games, and it's definitely a step up from the last similar controller (The Eye Toy for PS2), but obviously it's more novelty than serious control system. Using the next gen of tracking controller is going to interesting indeed. I'm gonna have to gain a whole lot of 3D modelling/editing skills before this comes out :P

    I applied for a developers kit on day one. I received an email back stating "we have limited supplies, and would like to screen your dev ideas and give the kits to the best ideas". How about, no.

    The problem with Kinect is not its accuracy (or lack thereof) but the utter lack of a "killer app". The technology in the Kinect is already impressive, as many have shown repeatedly, but it has failed to lift off because it hasn't yet used it in a compelling enough way. These are not the 50s anymore when people bought gadgets just because the novelty of what they could supposedly do. In these days you don't need the highest technology to sell millions, as attested by Angry Birds which can be played basically in any appliance with a screen. Similarly, your state-of-the-art technology will languish if it doesn't have an app that commands the attention of people. See the Sony Vita for a more contemporary example.

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