Monday, May 21, 2012

Leap Motion Announces New Rival to the Kinect

Leap Motion Announces New Rival to the Kinect:

Well, this is interesting. A startup called Leap Motion has announced a new gestural controller which they claim is more accurate than the Kinect, and sells at an even lower price point ($70!). From Edgadget:
It’s about the size of a pack of gum, and once connected to your computer via USB, it creates a four-cubic-foot virtual workspace. Within that area, it tracks all ten of your fingers simultaneously to within 1/100 of a millimeter — that level of accuracy allows for rudimentary gestures like pinch-to-zoom and more complex actions like manipulating 3D-rendered objects. Naturally, the company isn’t telling much about the black magic making it happen, but Leap Motion claims that its software can be embedded in almost anything with an onboard computer, from phones to refrigerators. Users can customize it to suit their needs with custom gestures and sensitivity settings, in addition to chaining multiple Leap devices together to create a larger workspace. Plus, Leap Motion has created an SDK for devs to create Leap-compatible applications and an app discovery platform to distribute them to others. That means the Leap can work in a variety of use cases, from simply navigating your desktop to gaming and computer-aided design. The best part? Leap brings you this next-gen UX for a mere $69.99, and a select few can pre-order them now, with the full roll-out coming this winter. Full details follow in the PR below, and you can see the Leap in action in the videos after the break.
It’s nice to see them leading with an SDK — the Kinect, which was marketed originally as a game controller, did not have an SDK at launch — but I haven’t been able to figure yet what (if any) restrictions there are for developers. Hopefully, the terms will be more free than the Microsoft SDK.
Anyway, it sounds like it might be fun to play around with. Leap Motion claims the device: “creates a 3D interaction space of 4 cubic feet to precisely interact with and control software on your laptop or desktop computer.” — that’s what it was designed for, but I wonder what else you could make it do? Hmmm…

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