May 23, 2012

LEAP Motion promises object-tracking UI breakthroughs

If this thing ($70?!) works even remotely as advertised, we’re in for an exciting future:

[Reader Pierre-Etienne Courtejoie quips, "I just shudder about the possible single-finger gestures to force quit software." (Hmm, seems very John Gruber-positive.)]

Posted by John Nack at 10:33 AM on May 23, 2012

Comments

  • klasa — 1:02 PM on May 23, 2012

    well.. everyone with one working eye sees that they faked the video.

    [Please elaborate. --J.]

    onyl a scam to raise R&D money

    • lukasz — 5:56 AM on May 25, 2012

      I guess it is possible it is fake, but I doubt it. with things like the work John Underkoffler has done:

      http://www.ted.com/talks/john_underkoffler_drive_3d_data_with_a_gesture.html

      and kinect, as well as things that came long before it. its perfectly plausible. Only thing I could see is there is a patent issue. How would this be a scam? they dont take money out until they send it to you, I have one on pre-order. Not to mention there is an entire section for developers… doubt they would put that much thought into it.

    • Santiago — 7:22 AM on May 30, 2012

      Yeah, they faked this one too??
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpi6aTv5o68&feature=related

      Come on!!
      The promotional video is ALWAYS edited and stuff, but this thing is real!!

  • J. Peterson — 2:30 PM on May 23, 2012

    Assuming it’s real the tech is great (a short-range Kinect at 1/2 the price?)

    As a UI, it’s an ergonomic fail – it’s just not comfortable to hold your hand up for any length of time.

    [I wouldn't expect this to replace other input devices at all. Rather, it'd be something that augments one's work, being used in brief high-value bursts. I can easily imagine resting my elbows on a table, then holding an object in my hands and flying it around, using gestured to define animations. I've been told that previous attempts to capture data in that way (e.g. via phone accelerometers) introduce too much "noise" (error). The fidelity promised here, however, is amazing. --J.]

    • Claudius — 2:24 AM on May 26, 2012

      half the price seems about right.

      Kinect is around 1 1/2 years “old”. It also features an array of 4 microphones, a colour-camera and mechanics to tilt its head.

      If this piece of technology is “just” the infrared part with the laser projector minus all of the above, it might even be sold with a margin ;-)

      I’m looking forward to mine.

      • lukasz — 1:44 PM on May 26, 2012

        haha yeah, have to make up for all the development time though. products don’t make themselves just because the parts are cheap :)

  • pk — 10:04 PM on May 23, 2012

    Looks like a good first step, but as others are echoing around the web in response to this video, the arm-waving fatigue factor can’t be ignored.

    ALL those examples in the video would be more easily achieved (for longer sessions) with hardware input devices such as mouse or stylus on tablet. There’s also the issue of pressing buttons in the air without any opposite force instantly confirming that you have actually pressed.

    I think a better system would allow one’s hand to rest on the desk, exactly like with a mouse, except there is no mouse, but the sensors can still read all the hi-res detail of your “invisible mouse” hand position and button clicks – you would simply tap the desk with index finger to perform a left click for example. Whoever can make an invisible mouse first will claim the billion dollar prize.

    Holding an object and flying it around to generate motion paths for animation as mentioned above, is brilliant but a very specific edge case. Even amoung animators, that system won’t help if you need to generate a character’s walk cycle or rigging – it’s back to the mouse and 3D mouse for that! Wait… I suppose the LEAP is a good replacement for my 3D mouse, used to move the 3d model I’m working on around in the viewport. THAT is cool! I want one now… but again this is a special use.

  • lukasz — 5:51 AM on May 25, 2012

    I’m curious if this is works like how the connect does, using IR and point cloud. That brings up the question of patent issues. They might be doing it sonically, but after seeing that point cloud a little ways into the video….makes me skeptical.

    @pk, if you think that this thing is slower than mouse, you obviously haven’t messed around with hacked kinects, I have done several projects with them, and let me tell you… they have potential to be WAY more efficient. its just a matter of getting used to the language. we have been on keyboard and mouse for way to long. It is about time to get away from it.

    no offense, but resting the hand on a desk sound like a terrible idea. ever heard of tendonitis? that is exactly how you get it. I think people are too stuck in mouse mode, we need to get away from it, I think this is the perfect thing for it. but if you really wanted, you could just buy something/make something that achieved that really.

    also, pk, I want my million dollar prize, because I have already built the invisible mouse, a while back for fun. I didn’t like it at all. I used several IR sensors to track motion, and was just uncomfortable in general.

    as for arm fatigue… that has to be a joke? we all sit on our butts all day anyway, this is exciting to me! I want to be able to move around some. before you know it we will be massless blobs floating in anti-gravity chambers feeding our thoughts into the world via EEG and remain motionless for our entire lives….. :)

    I think you are too caught up in the conventions they have created. what is cool is they are coming out with a developer kit, means we can make our own. don’t like it? make a different one. easy as pie. I do agree some of the motions aren’t the best, but hey, have to start somewhere.

  • helterskellter — 11:34 PM on May 26, 2012

    Looks very cool and is very titillating! That said, Upon pragmatic reflection, I’m not sure I’d have much use for it, aside from hosting “Minority Report” love festivals. I’m honestly not aspiring to be a snarky bitch, I truly struggle to see the logical application. Kinect has proved to be exceptionally gimmicky and “flash-in-the-pan” boring as most hyperbolic tech crud. This feels somewhat similar. Just sayin’.

  • helterskellter — 11:42 PM on May 26, 2012

    Addendum: Tis ok that we agree to disagree on this forum, yes? I’m in NO WAY condemning the post. Not at all! Instead I’m simply weighing in. Just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean that it is no good. Far from it! Does this make sense to anyone here? I only ask because I’ve run into WAY too many peanut galleries where peeps seem to confuse “it’s not for me” with “it completely sucks!”. Please let us aspire to not be so simple. Just because “you” don’t like or prefer something, doesn’t outright mean it “sucks”. Wake up people, it’s called variety, and Tis the spice of life! Last and surely not least, let me reiterate how much Nack’s digital candor rocks! Thank you so much John! Adobe had better cherish you or so help them gods! ;D

  • Stormchild — 1:11 PM on June 01, 2012

    ^ Looks like someone forgot to take their pills today.

  • Microbe — 2:31 PM on June 28, 2012

    This is a hoax. A troll took all your money.
    Their credentials do not check out if you look beyond the smokescreen they created.

    If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

  • Dagan Read — 3:54 AM on February 06, 2013

    This controller is not a hoax.

    I’m a beta developer for the leap motion controller and I’ve worked with this device personally. I have one; and the precision, responsive rate and ease of use is exactly as promised.

    The main problem leap faces at the moment is software compatibility, unfit arms and people saying its a hoax. I’m developing my own browser for the device and its a promising technology. It really comes down to do we want this technology and can it fit into our lifestyles.

    In response to the hand waving comment, leap can pick up if you’re holding a pencil and allows you to accurately and precisely input data, tracking the tip of the pencil.

    I’m a game design student and UX designer. I’ve looked at using leap for ergonic data input, similiar to the Kinesis Coporation’s keyboard. http://www.kinesis-ergo.com/
    resting your hand on a cushion while controlling the device is a possibility.

    Leap wont replace the keyboard and mouse, but it may provide a niche market like 3D artists an input alternative.

    but is this technology maybe even better?
    http://www.emotiv.com/

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