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The Future of Input and Interactive Technology: The Leap Motion Controller

Interactive tech that brings your computer to life

The future of technology is here. And no, I’m not saying it’s the new iPhone® or iPad® though that would be pretty awesome. This is actually something that in my opinion is way better because it takes the intuitiveness of motion control and removes the barrier of a solid screen to conduct your motion. This is something that was created by another company called Leap Motion. It is the latest in gesture-control technology that utilizes a 0.1 pound device called the Leap Motion Controller. It is the size of a sardine can and it senses hand gestures therefore giving you the ability to control what happens on your computer screen with your hand movements. Now you probably have a lot of questions, such as is it really that great? What can I use it for? And possibly, what does it mean for us and the future?

How does it work?

Since the device is gesture controlled, the only instruments that you need are your hands. The device is comprised of infrared LEDs and two cameras under the black glass top, which work together to achieve the sensing abilities of the device. It allows for 150º field of view as well as a z-axis recognition software to sense depth. It is stated that the precision of the device is supposed to be 1/100th of a millimeter for all ten of your fingers! Installing is as easy as eating cake. Right out of the box, all that needs to be done is to attach the controller to your computer, install the software from their online website and off you go!

Now in order to fully utilize the gesture-control technology of this device, Leap Motion has created their own app-store called Airspace, where there are over 75 applications to choose from that utilize the sensory technology of the device. The apps vary from drawing apps such as Painter Freestyle to more popular games such as Fruit Ninja and Cut the Rope.

Does it work? Looking to the future

Seeing as this device and app-store has been active for under a week now, there have been mixed reviews to whether or not this actually works and if it actually serves a purpose. From my initial readings of other tech blogs, the device actually works pretty well. There are minor issues in terms of sensitivity, as many people have complained how the intuitive gestures that would result on onscreen movement aren’t as “intuitive” and “easy” as Leap portrays it to be. But again, their device is relatively new technology and is still in the phases of getting tested out.

In terms of the applications for this type of technology, the possibilities are limitless. The fact that a mouse is no longer needed to control movements on a screen, and all that is needed are hands to tell your computer what you want to do, speaks to how engaging the technology is now. It almost reminds me of the movie Minority Report where Tom Cruise does all this cool movements on a telescreen with a special glove that he wears. In my opinion, it looks like we’re heading in that direction. I will not be surprised if in 20 years, if not sooner, these gestural type sensors will replace all mice and keyboards for computers.

In the mean time, my order has been placed for this wonderful piece of technology and I await its arrival for testing. I will keep everyone updated on how it works.

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