The reviews are trickling in, and it sounds like the Leap Motion Controller is more novelty device than game changer.
The Leap Motion is an $80 touchless user interface controller. You can use it to manipulate “objects” on your computer, by waving, pinching, drawing or swiping your hands in midair, “Minority Report”-style. About the size of a pack of gum, the Leap sits on your desk and uses a set of precise sensors to track your hand and finger gestures.
It’s a bit like having a tiny Microsoft Kinect for only your hands.
Most reviews highlighted the device’s precise tracking, minimalist hardware design, and relatively large Airspace app store, but complained that the Leap just isn’t very usable for work stuff. It looks like a gaming device:
“The problem isn’t that Leap Motion lacks precision – it can track 10 fingers to within 1/100th of a millimetre. It’s that our hands are not very precise when floating through space. Apps that don’t rely on specific spatial placement provide the best experiences.”
“The Leap Motion Controller is one of the coolest devices I’ve used, period. This is clearly a step forward in interface technology, and it’s jaw-droppingly cool.
But as a consumer product, the Leap Motion Controller is definitely still a work in progress. It’s cool in certain applications—the orientation demo alone made me giddy with geeky excitement—but so far the practical uses are few and far between.”
“There’s a lot that’s great about the Leap Motion Controller, and they’re the important parts. It’s simple. It’s fast. It can see your hands in great detail. And at $80, it’s pretty cheap considering what it can do. But that’s just it; what it can do is impressive. What it does do? Not so much.”
“All in all, the Leap Motion controller is more about potential than anything else. While it provides a new means for computational control unlike anything else we’ve seen, it’s clear that it’s not cut out to replace a touchscreen or mouse as a primary input device. Not yet, anyway. Some developer may well figure out a way to take full advantage of the Leap’s capabilities with a novel UI, but for now, it’s best suited for creative pursuits, not productivity.”
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