A while back we posted an article about how Microsoft is gearing up to bring Kinect to the desktop, and what that’ll mean for the future of PC computing. All our crazy predictions still stand, but is it definitely going to be Kinect that makes them a reality? Perhaps not, if Leap Motion has anything to say about it. Wanna see the real future of computing? Read on…
Leap Motion is a US start-up that’s working on something incredibly clever: the Leap 3D sensor. It’s a tiny USB sensor with accompanying software that tie together to create a “three-dimensional interaction space” of about four cubic feet in front of your computer.
That means that the gulf between you and your monitor ceases to be dead air and turns into a magic window of interactivity – one that’s “200 times” more sensitive than any similar motion-sensing tech currently available. Enough talk; watch this:
Amazing, right? The current iteration of Kinect is just smart enough to pick out your general body shape, but the Leap sensor is accurate to mere millimeters, letting every tiny nuance of your hand movements be transferred into your PC.
“The goal is to fundamentally transform how people interact with computers,” says Leap Motion CEO Michael Buckwald. His company wants to change computer navigation “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.”
It’s a bold mission statement, but when the tech’s this impressive, it’s very hard to argue. Crucially, Buckwald knows that the success of these types of innovations relies on developer support, which is why the Leap Motion sensor will launch with the backing of some 20,000 developers, who’ll look to use the tech to their own imaginative ends.
“Think what would have happened if the mouse had been initially been released as a closed technology. The impact would have been a tiny, tiny percentage of what the impact was because it was an open system that anyone could develop for,” says Buckwald.
The cool thing is that this could lead to any number of brilliant applications, games and tools – including the mad, chopstick-aided approach to Angry Birds that’s featured in the above video.
Will the Leap Motion sensor smash its way into mainstream usage like the mouse did? We really, really hope so.