There is a new motion control startup in town called Leap Motion. Leap Motion demoed its Leap 3D motion control system that is capable of tracking motion to about 0.01mm accuracy. This is 100 times more accurate than Kinect. Leap creates a 3D space of about four cubic feet. It consists of a small USB device with sensors and cameras that work in tandem with the company's software to track multiple objects and recognize gestures. Leap Motion states that their software can be embedded into almost anything with an onboard computer from phones to refrigerators. Users can also customize their needs with custom gestures and sensitivities as well as chain multiple leap devices to create a larger 3D workspace.
Leap's designers showed off Operating System navigation and web browsing using a single finger, as well as writing, pinch-to-zoom, 3D modeling, drawing and gaming. On the surface this system seems precise and can even recognize objects in your hands. Leap will be releasing its own SDK and giving out free sensors to those who are "qualified developers."
Michael Buckwald, Leap Motion CEO stated:
"We want there to be world-changing applications that fundamentally transform how people interact with their operating system or browse the Web.... The goal is to fundamentally transform how people interact with computers and to do so in the same way that the mouse did, which means that the transformation affects everyone, both from the most basic use case all the way up to the most advanced use cases you can imagine for computing technology."
Despite their startup status, Leap Motion has a large degree of funding behind them. They expect to launch this system next year at $69.99. It will work on either Mac or Windows and you can pre-order (US-only) from their website. Take a look at the system in action below and judge for yourself.
The Tech-Stew Take Home
Even though Leap Motion is new to the market for this arena, the Leap Motion 3D device looks like very exciting technology. Having motion control work in a smaller space is good for more desktop orientated practical applications like 3D modeling for instance. Certainly many envious 3D modelers in the 3ds Max category are drooling right now. At an entry price tag of only $70 there isn't much to lose to try this technology out. And simply tag team multiple units to create a larger 3D workspace. With the SDK that will be released this should make for interesting development prospects in the near future as well. Tech-Stew has placed its own pre-order on one of these units, so we will be anxious to get one and test it out whenever they are released.
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