Leap Motion, a company that specializes in gesture-detecting sensors, announced that it would offer a mount for some VR headsets, including both developer versions of the Oculus. This is a small step for Oculus as it adds yet another auxiliary support, but it also might just be a giant leap for virtual reality as it points to a controller-free user experience, which would of great help in refining and mainstreaming the virtual reality technology.
LEAP Motion, the finger-tracking hardware and software combination that allows users to interact with computers and electronics with gestures, has released details about the second iteration of its hardware. CEO Michael Buckwald has intimated that LEAP would work excellently with 3D Gesture controllers and the VR world, but his biggest aspiration is to help LEAP break into the automotive sphere. Version 2 of the LEAP software would do just that: it would track fingers that the LEAP hardware can’t necessarily see by tracking hand positions, and thus placing the “invisible” fingers in three dimensional space. So for a car, users could interact with heads up displays with the flick of a finger, or children could play with back-seat entertainment systems without necessarily moving from the seat. Even if it won’t find its way into cars immediately, this simple improvement within the software is enough to allow developers to come up with many more practical applications for what was, until this point, more of a proof-of-concept.
Leap Motion is planning to integrate its technology into various pieces of hardware – namely smartphones, tablets, and laptops – by Q3 of next year. According to company executives, there have been extensive challenges getting the product ready for prime-time, but most of those have been overcome at this point. This is evidenced by the HP deal announced just a few days ago, which would see leap’s products integrated with HP’s hardware. It could mean gesture control goes mainstream within the next calendar year – it all depends on how the public takes to the technology.
After a two-month delay, Leap Motion is launching its 3D gesture controller to the public. The first devices are being shipped ahead of the July 27th retail release, and the app center is already up and running – with 75 options to choose from. Leap Motion claims that the controller is 200 times more precise than Microsoft’s Kinect system, which was initially a controller for the Xbox 360. Preorders for Leap Motion’s controller were set to ship on May 13th, but that was pushed back until now for undisclosed reasons.
Leap Motion announced on Tuesday that it will partner with Hewlett-Packard to bring the startup’s now-famous motion-control technology to HP devices. The announcement didn’t specify what sorts of devices would be supported with Leap’s technology built in, but any machine with Leap’s technology embedded within it will include a pre-loaded version of Airspace, Leap Motion’s app-store. According to Leap, the announcement has been coming for a year, and have done a lot of R&D work already to integrate with HP’s products. Before built-in Leap products arrive, HP will sell bundles, where a standalone Leap controller is sold along with a PC, much like Leap’s current deal with Asus earlier this year. But when built-in products arrive, it will be the first time that Leap’s technology will actually be embedded within another manufacturer’s products. According to HP, the technology will add an insubstantial amount of weight to any product. Expect to find the motion-control sensor, which connects to PC via USB, on sale on May 13 for $79.99.
When this video of Leap Motion’s motion sensing technology came out, there was plenty of buzz from the tech community and rightly so. Based on the demo, Leap Motion appeared to be a game changer for gesture controls, enabling a level of sophistication previously reserved for the keyboard. But how would it perform under real world settings? What are some of the applications? How will it affect UI? While many of these questions are largely unanswered–Leap Motion is still only accepting preorders–we now know that they are looking for mainstream adoption thanks to a recent partnership with Best Buy. According to Techcrunch, the startup will now be selling their Leap controller on their site and Best Buy in addition to shipping it with new Asus PCs in 2013.
A look inside Leap Motion, the 3D gesture control that’s like Kinect on steroids