The Leap is an input device which conjures up a virtual 3D space users can navigate with their fingers. Developed by San Francisco company Leap Motion, it has the potential to revolutionize computer use.
A Pocket-Sized Sensory Input Device
The device itself is a small, sleekly-designed contraption, about the size and shape of an MP3 player. You can interact with your computer with The Leap: simply lay it in front of your PC monitor or your laptop. It then provides you with a 3-dimensional space for navigating through software, using only subtle finger movements – touching not required. Keener than most current optical input methods, its sensor is able to detect motion with acute precision.
This device not only allows you to navigate; it can be used for performing input procedures that require accuracy, such as designing detailed images, playing games or inscribing your signature. The technology operates quite like Kinect by Microsoft.
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The Leap is created to support Windows as well as OS X; its developers intend to eventually make it compatible with Linux.
Possibilities Offered by The Leap
The creators at Leap Motion intend to further explore and develop the possibilities of this technology. They foresee The Leap initiating a radical shift in the way we use computers – much like how the mouse impacted computer use, having made the electronic beast more user-friendly with the graphics-based interface. The Leap is expected to cause a similar drastic change, affecting usage and the interface as we know it. The technology it offers thus seems to be a “leap” in the right direction; by freeing the user, it will make operating computers even easier.
The developers hope this technology will eventually be useful in various electronic devices – vehicles, medical innovations, appliances and others – and thus simplify the usage of day-to-day machines. Before all this becomes a reality however, The Leap must first be introduced and established as an innovation for computer use. While it is indeed a futuristic development that can possibly revolutionize our technological experience, it isn’t exactly supported by a prominent software corporation like Microsoft or Apple – so it might not cause a stir as radical or as rapid as the developers expect.
The manufacturer aims to release this new product in late 2012, with a reasonable retail price of $69.99. Though The Leap is not yet in markets, a limited number of devices are currently made available for pre-ordering. Software developers are encouraged to try it out.
Before you procure a unit for yourself, it would be best to wait until developers test and review the new device.
The Leap enables ease in using computers – and eventually, other complex devices – as it reduces operations to simple hand movements. Technology like this offers many thrilling possibilities. When it becomes more developed and widespread, The Leap would definitely decrease the occurrence of technostress. The affordable price tag even makes it accessible to the average joe. Within the near future however, developers still need to apply the technology to current daily-use software, and users have yet to become familiar with it.
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Watch The Leap in action :
Although it looks promising, but in my humble opinion, one tends to get a tired hand pretty quick if using The Leap. I’m not sure how long a person could hold his hands up in the air to operate his computer like that (Arm workout anyone? :))… What do you think? Let us know in the comments.