3D Motion Control without Touch

This could be the mother of all Touch inventions, or even 3D motion control. Its fast, its realtime, its simply amazing and its rightly called the Leap Motion.

The Leap Motion is an Silicon valley startup that has surprised us all with innovation  that makes it possible to track user’s fingertips accurately upto sub-millimeter. Users can control gestures like pinch-to-zoom in and out, and other innovative Gestures that even make Kinect, Multitouch & Microsoft Surface look like technologies of last century.

With the Leap motion, we would start seeing apps that translate the movement of users hands — and even their fingers — into medium of input. User no longer has to touch any device, it all happens from a distance. Leap 3D motion control system, gives users the ability to control what’s on their computers with hundredth of a millimeter accuracy.

Leap 3D Motion works based on USB input device and a sophisticated software platform, and would be available at a very affordable price of $70. Well, the device would not be available before 2013, but sure everyone is excited about this technology.

Leap Motion vs. Kinect vs. Wii

Leap can sense motion down to the most subtle movements of a finger, which according to the company is 200 times more sensitive than anything else on the market. The system renders “3-D  interaction space” of four cubic feet and is more precise and responsive than a touchscreen or a mouse, and just as reliable as a keyboard.

What this means is that everyone from game designers to surgeons to architects and engineers may soon have a host of revolutionary applications that will soon be coming their way.

As per today, it can do variety of functions such as:

  • Navigating an operating system or browsing Web pages with the flick of a finger
  • Finger-pinching to zoom in on maps
  • Letting engineers interact with a 3D model of clay
  • Precision drawing in either two- or three-dimensions
  • Manipulating complex 3D data visualizations
  • Playing games, including those that require very “fast-twitch” control
  • Signing digital documents by writing in air

The best part of the system is that they are are open for extension. They are building a platform that can be expanded to various apps by developers.

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.

App Store for Leap Motion
Microsoft was very lean and mean at letting Developers leverage Kinect platform, but they later realized the potential. However, Leap realizes this already and they are all set to let it be hacked by developers. Leap Motion is already building an App Store for its platform.

“We believe that ultimately, the sheer number of use cases for this technology are so great that the value can only be realized by making it open. So 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.”
Company already has been working with 1000s of developers around the globe and hopes to expand it further.

Company is planning to have applications for almost anything from medicine, and consumers and gaming and engineers and science and research and education. The company would be sending development kits to all its current developers, and soon expand the horizon.

Kinect is hundreds of times less accurate than Leap Motion and not capable of tracking fingers. Leap Motion wants to make utility, business and fun apps that are more complex, much richer, and much easier for consumers, as well as those high-end users to use so that they can do more powerful things.

“It’s not as if we’re using lots of processing power or some new hardware that just came on to the market. This is really about a fundamental scientific breakthrough, many Eureka moments that (Holz) stumbled through over four or five years of research.”

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