Leap Motion Develops Gesture Control to Challenge Touchscreens

  • While computer makers are focused on adding touchscreen capabilities to desktops, Leap Motion has created a $70 matchbox-sized device that adds gesture control to computers, essentially negating the need for touchscreens.
  • The technology uses two small cameras and multiple infrarad LEDs to track the motion of a person’s fingers with an accuracy of a hundredth of a millimeter, Technology Review reports. The second camera is used to prevent errors from a hand obscuring itself. All the processing is done by a drive software installed on the computer.
  • According to Leap Motion co-founder and CEO Michael Buckwald, “Leap provides the solution to ‘gorilla arm,’ a term used to describe the dubious ergonomics of a person repeatedly lifting his or her hands from the keyboard or mouse and reaching out to operate a computer’s touch screen,” the article states. “Users of Leap’s device can lift their hands just slightly off the keyboard and make more economic gestures with their fingers.”
  • “If you’re controlling a cursor [with Leap], you don’t have to move one-to-one with the screen, like you do with touch,” says Buckwald, so small motions translate to larger movements on screen, making interaction faster than using a mouse and keyboard.
  • “We’re working with lots of consumer OEMs and for laptops but also automotive and medical companies,” he adds. In the future, the technology will be applied to mobile devices as well as new technology such as head-mounted displays. Leap Motion anticipates the technology will one day enable complex 3D interactions.
  • Pre-production versions of the device have been sent to developers who have created various applications for the interface, including a aircraft game and photo-browsing program. The post includes an impressive video featuring these uses and others.