Leap Motion Controller Hands-on: High Accuracy, Small Package

AUSTIN (Laptopmag.com) — Leap Motion showed off its new motion controller at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive conference. There were various computers running different motion-controlled applications, each of which showed off this highly accurate and impressive new technology. We were able to play a digital game of Jenga, Double Fine’s new Dropchord and interact with a few different motion-controlled atmospheric environments.

The leap motion controller has super low latency and high accuracy, providing a smooth gaming experience. The device, which is slightly larger than a pack of gum, uses three LED sensors to track all 10 fingers, allowing for high interactivity and lots of gaming and motion control options.

Some games were a bit difficult to use, such as the digital Jenga, but these challenges were due more to our lack of experience with the device rather than the controller’s shortcomings. While it was easy to tell on the screen our finger’s depth and width, our eye-hand coordination wasn’t yet calibrated to this new technology. Leap Motion representatives, who have had much more time to play with the controller, were much better at the games.

Leap Motion’s goal is to make the technology simple enough that anyone can walk up to a computer and use the motion controller. A representative explained how using the Leap Motion Controller is superior to using a mouse since the latter is an unnatural and learned input mode. Motion, on the other hand, is how humans have always interacted with the world. The company believes that this is the necessary evolution for computer control.

Apps for the Leap Motion controller will be available through the proprietary Airspace app store for both Windows 7 and 8 and OS X. Leap Motion wouldn’t tell us how many apps would be in the store at launch, but promised a “large variety” of applications, including games, music and video players, as well as interactive atmospheres.

The Leap Motion is $79.99 and is currently available for preorder. Units will ship starting May 13th in the order in which sales are received. The devices will also be available in Best Buy on May 19th.

Dann Berg
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