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Leap Motion opens new Windows of opportunity
AFP
May 22, 2013
First Published: 11:11 IST(22/5/2013)
Last Updated: 11:18 IST(22/5/2013)

Leap Motion has uploaded a video demo of its gesture control device working with Microsoft's Windows 8 and bringing its touch features to life.


The Leap Motion Controller is a tiny device that plugs into a computer's USB port and allows the user to operate their PC with nothing more than individual finger and hand gestures. In other words, this is sci-fi technology for the present, rather than a promise for a potential future.

Developing and demonstrating Windows 8 interoperability is the latest in a number of massive steps the company and its product have taken over recent months to reassure consumers that the Leap Motion Controller is anything but a gimmick.

HP, the world's largest PC maker, is building the controller into its next-generation desktop and notebook computers. Similarly, Asus another computer maker and the builder of Google's Nexus 7 tablet, has signed up to ship the controller with its PCs this year. Even Google has embraced the diminutive device -- a video was published in April showing how the controller can be used to navigate through Google Earth. Google also suggested at the time that it would be supporting the controller across its other apps in the future.

But compatibility with Windows is the big one. As well as being able to make the most of the touch-centric areas of the operating system's latest iteration, the Leap Motion Controller could well be the solution for consumers who have upgraded to Windows 8 but, because it's installed on an existing computer, don't have access to a touch screen.

Leap Motion turns the air into a touch screen. The device can track movements up to a 1000th of a millimeter within a four cubic foot space in front of the device. As well as waves, flicks and points, the controller can track the nib of a pencil or pen held in a hand, meaning that users could sketch in mid-air and see the drawing appear on the screen -- as the video demonstrates.

Leap Motion CTO and co-founder David Holz said: "Out of the box, users will have the ability to browse the web, navigate their desktops, and interact with existing software. Everything you can do with a touch-based system, like Windows 8, can now be accomplished with Leap Motion technology. We want our users to have a magical experience, with easy and natural movements in the air leading to amazing interactions."

And it is because of this that the device's official launch has been pushed back. Initially it was set to launch later this month and the company was already taking orders. However, Leap Motion has decided that extra testing and development is needed and so the company is pushing back the official release to July. When it does hit the shelves, it will retail for $79.99.


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