Leap Motion – Desk draw candy

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Leap Motion has huge potential but this version is no more than a toy.

  • The delayed Leap Motion controller is finally in the wild but it does not look ready to be the answer to the touch screen yet.
  • The Leap Motion controller is a cool looking device that sits on the desktop and allows the user to interact with a computer using 3D hand gestures.
  • The system is so accurate that it can track movements of all 10 fingers simultaneously raising the possibility of whole new way to interact with electronics.
  • This device has the possibility to turn any desktop or TV screen into a touch-based device at a much cheaper price ($80) than putting touch sensitivity into the panel. (see here)
  • Dreams of Minority Report and Tony Stark abound as one unboxes the product and plugs it in but these dreams remain unfulfilled.
  • The device comes with software for calibration as an app store that has 54 apps for Windows 7 and 8 and 58 for Mac OSX.
  • The initial set up is very encouraging as the orientation application is well crafted with light beams and ambient music synchronised with one’s fingers.
  • Unfortunately, it is all downhill from there as the experience with other applications is inconsistent at best and very frustrating at worst.
  • Trying to take control of a Windows desktop using the controller is an exercise in futility and many of the games do not work well enough to hold the attention for long.
  • The other problem is that holding ones arms freely in the air for long periods of time is actually quite tiring and a lot of tinkering was required to get the device to work properly while resting an elbow on the desk or armrest of an office chair.
  • I am a big believer in the potential of this device as it offers a highly cost effective way to turn any screen into something that is very easy to interact with.
  • The problem is that it needs to be much more robust.
  • It has to just work out of the box and work perfectly all the time.
  • Furthermore it has to be easier and more intuitive to use than a mouse.
  • If it can fulfil these criteria then I think adoption could be substantial which would lead to application developers scrambling to implement it.
  • I can also see it being integrated into keyboards, screens and laptops and becoming a standard piece of computing equipment.
  • Hewlett Packard is in the lead here as it has already announced that it will integrate the controller into some of its laptops (see here)
  • Unfortunately, in its current state Leap Motion is no more than a cool toy that will be played with for a while but then end up gathering dust in a desk draw while the real work is done.

2 thoughts on “Leap Motion – Desk draw candy

  1. I’ve had a developer version of the Leap for the past couple of months now and this is probably the fairest assessment of the device that I’ve read. Controlling OSX is just not really an option at the moment, the controls are extremely sensitive and after several hours of grappling with it it’s still a glitchy and unpredictable. Maybe it works better with Windows 8 being made for touch but it’s a bit of a frustrating experience at the moment.

    It’s promising, but until work is done on the interaction I don’t think it’s going to be a huge consumer success.

    • Thanks for your comments…..Its very hit and miss with Windows 8 too…the last mile in terms of getting this device up too scratch is going to be long, expensive and painful but my heart says that it will be worth it.

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