Leap motion sensing tech could be built into future laptops

Earlier this week, a newly minted company called Leap Motion revealed its first product, the Leap. It's a hardware add-on for the PC and Mac that, in the company's own words, contains motion sensing technology that is 200 times more accurate than anything currently on the market, in an obvious slam against Microsoft's Kinect device. The device is due to be released in early 2013 for just $70.

Engadget got a chance to demo a prototype of the Leap and liked what it saw. The article claims that while using the demo unit, the Leap didn't show any signs of lag while the user's fingers played games like Fruit Ninja or drew in a 3D art app.

Perhaps the coolest thing about the Leap is that the hardware required to use it is very small. It is so tiny that the hardware could actually be built into PC laptops, much like how cameras are now installed inside some PC notebooks. In fact, Leap Motion's leaders say they are currently in talks with unnamed but "several big hardware manufacturers" that could lead to an agreement for having the Leap hardware put inside future notebooks.

So the next time you buy a laptop, or perhaps even a desktop PC, you might do away completely with that mouse and keyboard in favor of the Leap technology. 

Source: Engadget

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29 Comments

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Brian Miller said,
Looks great but I can see you getting arm strain from using this.

No different than the initial adjusting period one has when first using a keyboard and mouse. I remember my wrists hurting when I started using a keyboard and mouse.

TheReasonIFailed said,

No different than the initial adjusting period one has when first using a keyboard and mouse. I remember my wrists hurting when I started using a keyboard and mouse.


But when you use a keyboard or a mouse, the weight of your arms is resting on the table or desk, unlike this device. It still suffers from the same "gorilla arm" problem vertical touch screens have.

This is why I don't believe this technology (and vertical touch screens) will ever replace the mouse/trackpad, but complement it.

Simon. said,

But when you use a keyboard or a mouse, the weight of your arms is resting on the table or desk, unlike this device. It still suffers from the same "gorilla arm" problem vertical touch screens have.

Yeah, but how often are you actually USING your mouse? Yes, your hand is on it most of the time, but how often is it being used?

A quick swipe down takes all of a second, and then your hand is back down resting. As with the Wii and Kinect promo videos, it's all exaggerated to really drive the point home, but at the end of the day it'll be relegated to the odd gesture here, odd gesture there - and that's okay. It's only another input method when push comes to shove. It doesn't NEED to be used all the time 24/7 to find its relevancy in the market.

*goes into class with new device meaning he no longer has to get up to draw an answer on the whiteboard, AutoLasy 2000!*

hmmmm Now this looks awsome if it works as well as they are demoing then no doubt we be having one funny how they demoed it on the Imac just the same one we have now why the Mac and not PC me wonders.

Julius Caro said,
this >>> touch screen on a desktop computer.

I'd love to see how this would interpret my 4 monitors, if I could use just one and it's ranged (width wise).

Figure 8 Dash said,
Will be cool if it works as advertised.
I'm sure it will, the question is apps and drivers for the OS to be useful.

Ricardo Dawkins said,
When is this coming?.... 6 or 12 months before Kinext ?

It does not have anything to do with Kinect. This is something small, to built in a laptop..........
if everything is true....................

PsYcHoKiLLa said,
It may be 200 times more accurate but it has a range 1/20th of Kinect, so it's only useful at the desk.

Yeah it's a completely different product with a different application so not sure how its a slam against any product - instead just marketing hype - but none the less looks very interesting.

I don't really see the difference between having a sensor near you and a sensor near your screen, so range is kind of irrelevant. Regardless, this looks much more suitable to my needs than Kinect since you can essentially use your computer as a touchscreen without actually touching the screen. With Windows 8 coming up something like this is brilliant as it is undoubtedly much cheaper than replacing my 47" "monitor" with a touchscreen and more convenient than standing in front of a screen that large to touch it.

lt8480 said,

Yeah it's a completely different product with a different application so not sure how its a slam against any product - instead just marketing hype - but none the less looks very interesting.

It's a John Callaham article, I'm pretty "slam" is his favourite word.

Darrian said,
I don't really see the difference between having a sensor near you and a sensor near your screen, so range is kind of irrelevant. Regardless, this looks much more suitable to my needs than Kinect since you can essentially use your computer as a touchscreen without actually touching the screen. With Windows 8 coming up something like this is brilliant as it is undoubtedly much cheaper than replacing my 47" "monitor" with a touchscreen and more convenient than standing in front of a screen that large to touch it.
I believe the idea of Kinect for the desktop is to provide this same functionality coupled with vision and sound recognition. I don't think I'd put this over the kinect desktop experience yet, but it is compelling.

Darrian said,
I don't really see the difference between having a sensor near you and a sensor near your screen, so range is kind of irrelevant. Regardless, this looks much more suitable to my needs than Kinect since you can essentially use your computer as a touchscreen without actually touching the screen. With Windows 8 coming up something like this is brilliant as it is undoubtedly much cheaper than replacing my 47" "monitor" with a touchscreen and more convenient than standing in front of a screen that large to touch it.

The big difference is thing you call "irrelevant" - and that IS the distance at which the application was designed to be used. Kinect was designed to be used much further away, say, on a couch or standing much further away. Not only that, but it's also designed to be used with the whole body (finger tracking has only been a requested feature after launch), and can even be used with multiple bodies.

This, however, has been designed with a personal feel in mind, when you're at a desk, only a metre away, tops, from your computer screen., only really using your fingers/hand, maybe forearm at best.

Similar things but different target audiences, really.

Ok, so if I have a sensor that can see my movements from the couch, or I have a sensor right in front of me near my keyboard, I'm really going to notice a difference? Obviously there IS a difference where the device is physically located, but from a usability standpoint I doubt I'd be able to notice any difference. Since this is a lot more precise and I would want precision if I was going to emulate a touchscreen it seems the better option for me. Kinect may be better for gaming, but I'll probably stick to my keyboard and mouse for that. There's a reason I don't have a Wii or a 360 with Kinect or any other kind of motion controller gaming system: I want to continue playing games with my hands while being relaxed and sloth-like on the couch, not my entire body.

Darrian said,
Ok, so if I have a sensor that can see my movements from the couch, or I have a sensor right in front of me near my keyboard, I'm really going to notice a difference? Obviously there IS a difference where the device is physically located, but from a usability standpoint I doubt I'd be able to notice any difference. Since this is a lot more precise and I would want precision if I was going to emulate a touchscreen it seems the better option for me. Kinect may be better for gaming, but I'll probably stick to my keyboard and mouse for that. There's a reason I don't have a Wii or a 360 with Kinect or any other kind of motion controller gaming system: I want to continue playing games with my hands while being relaxed and sloth-like on the couch, not my entire body.

No, I never said you'd notice a difference in terms of motion precision (although the Kinect can't match this right now, it will do eventually), my point being is that you'll be playing a game from the couch on a 42" screen, whereas you'll be reading a webpage or using photoshop on a 24" screen at your desk, where you'll be much further away. The office worker or typical computer user would use this, whereas a gamer would grab Kinect. There's going to be some overlap as with any device (Kinect being used by scientists, the Leap being used by PC gamers) - but overall, different target audiences.

The Teej said,

No, I never said you'd notice a difference in terms of motion precision (although the Kinect can't match this right now, it will do eventually), my point being is that you'll be playing a game from the couch on a 42" screen, whereas you'll be reading a webpage or using photoshop on a 24" screen at your desk, where you'll be much further away. The office worker or typical computer user would use this, whereas a gamer would grab Kinect. There's going to be some overlap as with any device (Kinect being used by scientists, the Leap being used by PC gamers) - but overall, different target audiences.


The Teej said,

No, I never said you'd notice a difference in terms of motion precision (although the Kinect can't match this right now, it will do eventually), my point being is that you'll be playing a game from the couch on a 42" screen, whereas you'll be reading a webpage or using photoshop on a 24" screen at your desk, where you'll be much further away. The office worker or typical computer user would use this, whereas a gamer would grab Kinect. There's going to be some overlap as with any device (Kinect being used by scientists, the Leap being used by PC gamers) - but overall, different target audiences.


And this is why I shouldn't try to post on my nook. Double post of nothing, oops! Anyway, all of my computing, gming or otherwise will usually be done from my couch on my 47" screen.

Darrian said,
And this is why I shouldn't try to post on my nook. Double post of nothing, oops! Anyway, all of my computing, gming or otherwise will usually be done from my couch on my 47" screen.

Oh yeah, totally! I'm in a very similar boat (using a computer chair, but much further away and using a 42") - but this isn't the norm We're in the "overlap" section as I said about

S3P€hR said,
Wow this is very cool. though I still donot think It replace the mouse, for laptops I think It will replace the touch pad mouse.

It will augment the experience... it's far off from replacing any precision device.