For the longest time, people were happy with using a keyboard and mouse to get around their PC. But so much has changed in the past few years that sometimes even using a keyboard and mouse can seem a bit prehistoric. It seems like touch and gesture-based input is on the rise, even with desktop PCs. But what if you could take things a bit further? What if you could utilize a system that did away with the keyboard and mouse and made interacting with your PC as simple as waving your hand? Well, that’s what the Leap motion controller is all about.
Leap is a device that is designed to work with a PC or Mac, and allows your to interact with your computer using a series of gestures and movements. It’s incredibly accurate and can make for some very interesting applications, even though it’s still in its infancy. The project received phenomenal support and funding through Kickstarter, and plans are already in the works to release a newer version of the device.
The Leap controller itself looks quite ordinary, barely bigger than two USB thumb drives put together. Underneath the black top cover lies a series of infrared sensors, which allows the device to detect when your hand is in close proximity. There’s a small green LED on the front that lets you know when the device is powered on, and that’s pretty much it.
Setting up the Leap controller is easy – you simply plug it into a free USB port, position it where you want on your desk (preferably just below your keyboard’s spacebar) and install the required software. Once the software is installed, you run through a brief demo which lets you marvel at the device’s accuracy and pinpoint tracking skills. You also gain access to the Leap store, which is where you can download both free and paid apps to use with your controller. Some of them are a lot of fun, while some are just gimmicks, but all of them are excellent examples of how much fun you can have with the device.
And that’s exactly what the Leap motion controller is – fun. While the system is incredibly accurate at predicting even the most minute finger movements, it’s still a bit awkward to wave your hands about in the air to try and achieve something. When it comes to simple games the Leap is in its element, making games even more interactive than if they were played with peripherals or a touchscreen. But apart from a few gestures to launch or minimize application, the Leap has very little practical use. I launched an illustration program to try and paint using the Leap, but it was a futile exercise. The device’s sensitivity made it almost impossible to draw anything properly, so I aborted that attempt fairly quickly.
The Leap motion controller is certainly a very cool toy to be playing around with. But save for a few interesting and creative applications, the Leap has yet to make a stand for being practical to use with a PC. Sure, HP may have seen something I’m missing as they’re planning to integrate a slimmed-down version of the Leap in an upcoming line of notebooks, but for everyone else we’re still in the dark about what we should actually do with Leap. If you’re looking for a very cool toy to add to your desk, then is it – otherwise there’s not much here that can compel you to buy the Leap.
Review unit provided by ALSHOP.com