I was so busy working that I forgot my pre-ordered Leap Motion controller was due to arrive today. When I remembered, I walked up to the mailbox about 8 PM and it was there. The small USB device has a sensor that detects motion above it, creating a 3D virtual “touch screen” in the air that can do “multi-touch” detecting all 10 individual fingers and tracking them to control the computer.
The setup is reasonably easy: plug the USB device in and then navigate to a URL listed on the device to download drivers and proceed with setup. You then register the device and create an account with a dedicated Leap Motion app store, which includes free and paid apps.
As with any serious hardware evaluation, I immediately loaded “Cut the Rope” and asked my wife Irene to play.
It takes a couple minutes to get used to it (you go up with your hand to go up on screen, but initially both of us tried to go forward, like a conventional mouse.) A twitch of a finger selects like a mouse click, which seemed natural and took no time to master. I ended up moving my chair about six inches back so my hands were directly over the sensor rather than the keyboard. I should mention that the your laptop’s mouse / keyboard still works when using the Leap, which is great.
So far, I’m impressed with the hardware.
I’m eager to install the software on my desktop, which has dual 24″ monitors and a keyboard drawer, as I’m thinking the controller could sit on the desk above the keyboard drawer for smooth vertical alignment between typing and magically waving my hands in the air.
I know Leap Motion is signing OEM agreements with computer manufacturers, and I can imagine that a virtual touchscreen on a laptop could be the perfect antidote to the smudgy laptop touchscreens…
My wife’s opinion after playing a few successful games of Cut the Rope and playing with the Visualization Display app that shows what the sensor sees? “I want to watch ‘Minority Report’ again…”