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JustinCarone

Will motion control be the next multi-touch?

Leap Motion announced their new motion control input device on Monday. The device is being touted as the next evolution in human-computer interaction. The technology behind the device is still somewhat shrouded in mystery, but it is thought to be much like Microsoft's Kinect. However, this system is cheaper, smaller, and "200 times more accurate than anything else on the market".

This kind of device reminds me of the excitement many had at the first demonstration of high resolution, low cost multi-touch input devices. I still remember watching Jeff Han demo his multi-touch drafting table and thinking, "this is where HCI needs to go". Not long after that demo we had the iPhone implementing a different technology, but still all the promise of the multi-touch interaction paradigm. I think we can all agree that multi-touch was indeed a transformative technology that has slowly bled into almost every industry.

So, will motion control be the next big leap in how we interact with our computers? We've already seen the DIY community take the Kinect to some pretty remarkable places. With the release of Leap Motion's Leap we should see the first commercially available device intended for this means of interaction across a broad range of devices. There are even rumors of this technology being used in mobile devices. I for one am extremely excited about the possibility of motion control. While I can see some possible issues with it, such as keeping your hand aloft for long periods, I still think the technology shows a great deal of promise.

What do you think? Will the Leap usher in a new age of 3D motion interaction, or will we stick to more tried and true ways of telling our devices what to do? I for one have already pre-ordered my Leap. I don't know if it will change the world of technology, but I want to be there on the front lines if it does.

For some more info on the Leap:

www.gdgt.com­/leap­-motion­/leap/

www.leapmotion.com/

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7 replies
marc

I'm definitely curious about the Leap, and can see some real value to a device like this for certain kinds of applications. It's interesting that it's coming out at around the same time that many all-in-one desktops are adding touchscreens. If the Leap is successful, it could bring a lot of the advantages of touchscreens -- plus a lot of things you can't do with them -- to a broader range of PCs at a much lower cost.
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falleninsea

i think the timing is a good move on their part. Windows 8 seems to be something a touch screen will be very useful on if the Leap delivers what it promises a $70 add ontop of a windows upgrade could be a lot cheaper than a new PC especially if you buy a new machine and get the $15 upgrade to Win 8.
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Kanogul

While Kinect doesn't do much for the hardcore gaming audience, it has demonstrated one thing- the general public is willing to try untethered motion control (i.e. no controller device required). Motion controls are arguably more natural than touch and swipe controls, and are open to a much broader spectrum of gestures. There is no doubt in my mind that motion control is the future of at least some forms of device navigation. As far as what those devices are and when their implementation will come about, I have no clue. This Leap controller might be ahead of its time...
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joelhamill

I like the idea of a $70 accessory that will give your system motion control. The barrier to use is dramatically lower than if you had to buy a new system or more expensive accessory. I'll definitely be getting this as soon as I can.
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EBone

While this technology is interesting, and can be used well for some applications, the combination of mouse and keyboard is particularly efficient for computer control with a minimum of movement necessary to get the job done.
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dtomasi

I not sure about others but I am very excited and embrase this new device, in fact I preordered it last month and can't wait for it to be delivered. I am sure it will not replace
the keyboard and mouse at least not yet it will be great for many things we do with our computers like gaming for one. It is early in this technology but it is a great addition to our computing experance.
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davl3232

I hope they use this technology to build something that can capture your hands movement in a larger area, this would be a great 3d modeling controller!
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