February 2013 Anthony Garland
What is best described as “Kinect on steroids”, the soon-to-be-released Leap Motion hopes to make intuitive, touch free computer interactions a reality for consumers. While this certainly is a tall order, it may just be able to do precisely this with big names companies like Disney betting on its success. However, Leap Motion is aiming for even wider appeal than just gaming enthusiasts. With an Autodesk plugin and support for Mac programs such as Clear, the gesture controller intends to bring precision motion-tracking to the business environment. To us, this is just as important as consumers getting access to a next generation gaming peripheral.
The Leap Motion is able to outdo the Kinect is by making it nearly infinitely scalable. If you use simple VGA cameras found in most laptops, the motion sensing controller will make a 3D controllable area that is about 3 square feet in size; however if you keep adding camera sensors, the detail and size of the virtual work area grows at a similar pace. CTO David Holz states that with enough IR cameras, and computing power, you could easily have a 300 square feet working area. The company will also open its own app store that will be populated by a number of professional and recreational software optimized for Leap Motion.
With a reasonable pre-order price of $79.99 and a release date of May 13th, consumers will be able to experience this gaming-changing technology first hand. Though, unless you absolutely need to be on the bleeding edge we would recommend a “try before you buy” approach. As good as this sounds on paper, it would not be the first time a new product failed to live up to PR promises.