Is This The Best Gesture Control System Ever?

Gesture control as we know it is rudimentary at best. But a new San Francisco startup called Leap Motion has just announced a new 3D motion control system that its claims is 200 times more accurate than anything else on the market—and it's set to cost just US$70.

CNET reports that Leap Motion's technology uses a small USB input device—though the company doesn't reveal what kinds of sensors it uses—and some sophisticated software in order to provide accuracy of around a hundredth of a millimeter. That means that their gesture control system can handle touch-style gestures, like pinch-to-zoom. Leap Motion plans to launch the device early next year.

The device monitors a space four cubic feet in size, and can deftly track individual finger tips, the whole hand, or inanimate objects. It's well worth watching the video to get a feel for how it works—because it's really impressive. In particular, the gestures we've come to expect on touch-screen devices look incredibly smooth.

It's immediately obvious that there are some applications that it would be well suited to—for, say, the likes of surgeons or engineers—but at US$70 it will no doubt land in a lot of homes. Including mine. Michael Buckwald, Leap Motion CEO, explained to CNET:

"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."

While Kinect piqued the world's interest in gesture control, it's always been relatively clunky. Whether it's Leap Motion or some other manufacturer that finally releases a fine-grained system to market, at least this evidence suggests that it won't be long before it's actually useful. [CNET]



    The only real problem I see with this is your arms getting tired.

    Looks fun tho :)

    Yeah, but imagine sitting at your desk with your elbow resting on it. You wouldn't get tired at all. Between this and the eye-tracking stuff for Windows 8, the future looks like it will be here before Xmas.

      Wouldn't posture become a problem then ?

      I also like the idea of it but I wonder how many peripherals are designed around body positioning that also accounts for through repetitive motion that won't cause issues.

    Gotta say - that was a very impressive video.

    Kinect is full body tracking, where as this seems gimped and only tracks hands. I think M$ might be looking to snatch these guys up

      indeed, if microsoft bought these guys out, the kinect system could only get better - which is a win win for everyone

    Awesome! I get the drawbacks with desktop touchscreen, but it would be an awesome additional input, especially for that kind of price!

    Looks to me like this would be better for bigger screens. Say a 40+, I think that's where it would really shine, rather than a dinky monitor size like in the vid.

    I'm off to buy some stock.. oh bugger they haven't floated yet and no doubt they will be bought up by a bigger company first. I just hope Apple stays the hell away from it or that seventy bucks will be a zillion instead.!

    No 3 stars in angry birds...

    Depending on how it all works, could be an amazing way to control my HTPC!

    In breaking news, Microcrap has just bought the company, sacked the staff and incorporated the tech into the Kinect team. Now that's progress.


    I can see how I would use this - not dedicated. I would it there with my mouse and my keyboard, and occasionally I would swat at the screen because its faster than finding the button with the mouse or keyboard.
    Additionally, it would be like a 'global macro' tool - starting apps, task switching, volume up/down etc - allowing me to do 'background' stuff without having to take my attention away from the active application.

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