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Real world review of the Leap Motion Controller

technologyEdward KiledjianComment
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Leap Motion Controller Review

I love new tech and am an early adopter. I saw the Leap Motion Controller demo about a year ago and got swept up in Minority Report type computing dreams. Oh the things it would  be able to do. I could think of a dozen ways it would make my computing life so much better and I waiting anxiously for the product to hit the market.

The cool factor

There is no denying this is cool technology. Comparing it to a Kinect is like comparing a bicycle to a giant 4x4 truck.

The leap controller

The device is a little stick gum sized package that sits in front of you and hooks to a PC via USB 2 or USB 3.  the built in LED illuminators and sensors have a 150 degree field of view in 3D space and detect your 10 fingers in millimeter accuracy. there is a fraction of a second lag that is imperceptible.

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The tech is amazing at any price but blows me away at its sub $100 price tag.

Installation

Installation on a Windows 8 computer was simple. I downloaded the installer, ran setup with the default settings, created my "Airspac" account and was presented with an awe inspiring interactive demo.

Their appstore

The best apps are those with specifically designed support and can be found on their Airpsace store. They have a surprisingly generous offering of free and paid apps (Apple and Windows).

As you download and use the apps, you appreciate how much practice it takes to really become good with the Leap Motion Controller. sure anyone can use it immediately but fine-tuned control will require practice.

As you use the device you realize that it is very cool but I can't see how this will make my everyday computing life better. This is where reality started to sink in. It is very cool but currently not useful. It won't make you more productive or efficient.

Its cool but

It is fantastic technology  but has limitations (when you move one hand in front of the other the one in back is no longer detected).

Years ago Steve Jobs said he didn't built a touch based iMac because people would quickly get tired. He was right. Using the leap motion will eventually lead to tired arms.

I tried using it in my standard operating system but it was clumsy, error prone and just not a positive experience.

Every once in a while you may be asked to recalibrate the Leap Motion Controller which involved pointing it to a reflective surface and "painting" dots on the screen.

Verdict

The Leap Motion Controller is definitely cool technology that demos well but isn't really practical in the real world today.

This is clearly a version 1.0 product and will require a couple of years to mature before it becomes truly useful.

Right now, I say don't buy it unless you have money burning a hole in your pocket.

https://www.leapmotion.com/