Ever since Tom Cruise waved his tiny hands in the air controlling his holographic computer, geeks have wanted to also ditch their keyboard and mouse. It seems that is closer than maybe imagined.
Later this year a new device called “Leap” will become available and from the demo video that was released last week, looks to make controlling all aspects of your computer about as easy as a wave of the hand, or a point of a finger. The video shows off several different uses for the device, from typing, to cursor control, to more advance uses. There is even a moment where it shows off the accuracy of the device by showing how you can actually clearly write inside a one centimeter box. If you’ve ever used a note taking tablet app with a stylus, you know that isn’t as easy to pull off well as it would seem.
The Leap’s makers claim that the device is “200 times more accurate than any other device out on the market” and can recognize the smallest of movements down to 1/100 of a millimeter. The device creates an interactive space of eight cubic feet in front of your computer. Within that space the device can detect all sorts of gestures, the difference between a thumb and finger, and even if you pick up a pencil to write. Interestingly the company is also reaching out to developers encouraging them to find different applications for the technology. It also reportedly will work with several different operating systems.
And thinking back to Tom Cruise in Minority Report, the computer he interacted was a predictor of sorts. (Funny though, even in that movie he had to wear gloves that provided some sort of connection. Today’s motion controllers don’t) With XBOX Kinect, Playstation Move and other motion controllers on the market the idea that we will control devices with our hand and body movements seems more likely than ever. But, do we really want to ditch our keyboard and mouse? Just how difficult will it be to move away from the peripherals that are essentially native to us now? With Apple’s OSX and Windows 8 all making a move to touch screen interfaces to closer mimic the mobile device experience it’s clear where technology is headed.
The most amazing part of Leap is the price. $79. They are taking pre-orders now, and they don’t say if this is the only the pre-order price only, or if it will stay at $79. Either way, that’s very impressive for an intro price.
*edit* I just realized that the demo video never shows anyone using it for typing… interesting.