If There’s A Future In Motion-Controlled Computing, This Is It.

If There’s A Future In Motion-Controlled Computing, This Is It.

This is the Leap Motion Controller. I’m pretty sure it’s the future. This wasn’t the case last week, when the $US79.99, USB stick-sized device for Mac and PC started shipping.

Videos of people waving in the empty air in front of their computer monitor made me giggle more than think, and it wasn’t until the fifth or sixth publisher/developer announcing their apps for the device that I sat up and took notice.

If There’s A Future In Motion-Controlled Computing, This Is It.

I’m glad I did. It’s amazing what an additional eight cubic feet of interactive space brings to the table. Let me show you, in a lengthy video featuring countless shots of my fingers wiggling about.

It’s no Kinect — it doesn’t have to be. There is no need to position yourself a certain distance from the Leap Motion Controller. You hover over it, weaving your digits about as if casting magic spells. In some of the apps available in the Airspace store, you air casting spells. You’re also playing music, creating presentations, and navigating your operating system, just by waving your hands.

There’ll always be a place for the keyboard and mouse. What the Leap Motion Controller does is add a new dimension of interactivity to your desktop. I wouldn’t be surprised to see these being embedded in keyboards or the housing of laptop systems in the near future.

The Leap Motion Controller is available at the official website for $US79.99 plus shipping.


  • on paper, it looks good, but in practice.. it’s not worth it.

    they marketed it well, but shortchanged all the backers. general consensus on this product is regret.

    • Seeing the videos so far I would be happy with it as a proof of concept product to have some fun with. You can’t blame the makers for the lack of software. Give it time and they will come. I might even pick one up.

    • I always enjoy it when people talk on behalf of an entire community. I’d like to see some figures on that claim.

      This looks great, and friends I’ve had who were backers are actually quite fond of it!

      • i speak on behalf of my own experience of backing this. google up some reviews for this thing, you’ll see that the general opinion is that it’s cool, but it’s frustrating to use.

        it falls short of its expectation. that’s the bottom line.

        edit: spend some time reading about user experiences in this thread, you’ll understand why.

    • We have one, and in general, it’s quite responsive and has a lot of potential – of course that potential is best realised in software designed for it.
      Given it is on a single plane, there are some issues with the 3D planes, but it still handles them surprisingly well. For anything that needs fine control, you can actually use a pen as a pointer, and get better results that way.
      There are quite a few plugins for common software, and being able to spin Google Earth kept me amused for longer than I would have initially thought.
      I was hoping for it to bring some extra functionality for Windows Media Centre, being able to flick through movies to watch, but the range of the sensors are limited – as the article says, it’s not Kinect, so unless you embedded it into the arm of the couch, it is not going to replace the ubiquitous remote just yet. That said, I’m sure we’ll see some inventive and awesome mods from people who do use it this way.

      Where it would be useful is places where you don’t want or need a keyboard – mall kiosks, mechanics workshop, etc.
      Haven’t used it in a presentation yet, but there is strong potential for it be quite useful there, with the flick gestures.
      The addition of a second device would give much better recognition on the 3D axis – for example, it cannot detect two fingers, if one is above another.
      Is it ready for mainstream audiences ? No, not yet. You’re not going to be giving this to Auntie Edna and expect her to be delighted with the ease of use it brings.

      That said, for a Kickstarter project, it is quite a polished product, and the quality of the material is good. Shipping was quite fast – arrived in less than 4 days after the order was placed.
      I’d be interested to see what the next generation of this product brings, along with more software plugins for common applications.

      As far as I can tell, the only people who would be expressing regret would be those who thought they would be able to do Minority Report style interactions, out of the box.

  • Looks like it has some potential actually, I much prefer this kind of finer movements at close range more appealing then Kinect from afar.

    To be successful it needs to be implemented as like in conjunction with steam which is a big task but say if steam had next to “controller support” had “Motion control support” then you could be guiding your toki tori chicken with the point of your finger instead of a controller.

    Just a scenario but that’s what I think

  • I have no doubts that it looks like cool technology, but I have serious doubts that it would actually be fun to use.

    • Having got mine a couple days ago, it is so much fun to use, drawing with the paint app, even playing piano on my PC feels natural, it detects depth, movement of all fingers individually, motion of you hand in full 3D.

      Sure atm there is limited support, and almost NO support for any game not on the app store, BUT if you take a look online/youtube, there are people who have modified controller and wii PC drivers to detect the gestures as input methods, and are able to play games like borderlands 2 with 1 hand, with full motion and movement support.

      It will be amazing in 6-12 months once more developers get behind it, and even more so when the occulus comes out and you can incorperate both together.

      Glad i got mine early, and sooo looking forword to the future of the tech.

  • I’m disappointed it in, particularly the way it loses track of your fingers if you hand rotates too far from being flat., and also if your fingers get too close together. Which means that you can’t do any fine gesture controls like pinching with one hand to zoom/pan while the other hand paints. I’d think that a better position for the sensor would be on or under the screen, facing towards you – that way it wouldn’t lose track of the fingers so often.

    So for me it feels gimmicky, like the first Kinect did. If it didn’t ever drop fingers then I would rate it higher, but I don’t recommend anybody buys this version of the device. It’s not bad, it mostly works, but it’s not a game-changer.

    Also, I can’t get it working with Google Earth, checkbox is ticked, nothing happens.

  • I honestly doubt that any kind of non-mouse interface will catch on, except maybe direct touch (ie: tablets), because noone cares enough about your niche product to write software support for it. Even oculus rift I expect to have limited support for a long time, because -why- would you write for it when so few people will own one?

  • Not for me but cool nonetheless.
    It feels like a gimmick that I would lose interest in pretty quickly.

    New input methods are great to see but it seems that many people go back to whatever is faster and less effort intensive – keyboard, mouse, controller.

    Also – trim your fingernails Mike Fahey.

  • Having received mine last week….. Meh.
    It looked awesome in theory but in practice, it’s really difficult and fiddly to use. As a gamer I like to think that I can easily adapt to different control methods, and this one is just plain frustrating.

    Adding an extra dimension to control (as opposed to a touchscreen) also adds an extra problem. You now have pay attention to that extra dimension. On a touchscreen it doesn’t matter how hard you push on it, the Z axis doesn’t matter. When your finger is floating in the air, you need to actively pay attention to where it is in 3D space. You also don’t get visual cues of where your finger is in relation to the object you are trying to interact with.

    The leap seems to work pretty well with games that are designed to use it, but for general PC use it’s horrible. And as for using it for specific applications such as robot control or medical devices or things like that…. well turning your hand 90 degrees kills it because it can no longer make out your fingers.

    It’s really not as useful as it was made out to be. General gestures like swiping a screen away or flipping through a book work well but smart TVs and the kinect and already do that.

  • I think this thing is really ahead of its time, unfortunately. There just ain’t enough uses for it currently. Maybe it’ll be different in a few years when more developers take it on.

  • I agree that this Is a little ahead of its time – but I’m betting that if a hardware company building laptops embeds this little guy into its frame……we might just see a revolution.

    The phrase “if you build it……they will come” might be apt.

    FYI block54 rocks!

  • Got mine yesterday, and have to say i’m a ‘little’ disappointed. I did only purchase it to check it out and knew I wouldn’t find a practical use for it, but apps-wise it’s very limited and even for use in Windows it’s limited.

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