A small device by a start-up company called Leap Motion lets users control their computers using 3D air gestures, meaning the stylish finger flicks and arm waves associated with the futuristic computers in Minority Report and The Avengers are coming soon to a device near you. Here's what you should know about the cool new tech that has the blogosphere hyped:
What is it?
The Leap is a small Lego-sized motion sensor you can plug into your computer's USB. The technology behind it is similar to Microsoft's Kinect, which reads a user's arm and leg movements to control onscreen action. Leap goes even further because it "can sense motion down to the most subtle movements of a finger," which, according to the company, makes the device "200 times more sensitive than anything else on the market," says Daniel Terdiman at CNET.
How do you use it?
Once the sensor is plugged in and the software is installed, the Leap transforms the 8-cubic feet of air in front of the computer into a "3D interaction space," says Peter Pachal at Mashable. Basically, "it'll track any and all motion within that space, letting you use your hands to do whatever you could do with a mouse."
What can it do?
You can use it to swipe through menus, pinch-to-zoom, or even rotate onscreen objects. (Watch a demo below.) Users can even wield things like pens for added precision. "It really makes you feel connected," Leap Motion's chief technology officer David Holz tells The Wall Street Journal. By contrast, tools like the mouse or the trackpad "don't work like real life."
How much will it cost?
The Leap will be priced at an affordable $69.99, and is set to ship this winter.
Take a look:
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