Last May I pre-ordered the Leap Motion - a great idea about to come to market. Not seen it yet? Have a look.
Leap tell us the device will ship in just a few months, thirty years since Microsoft launched the first PC-compatible mouse in 1982. In that time there has been a significant shift in user interfaces. From the mouse to resistive (requiring pressure) and capacitive (electro magnetics) touch screens.
These developments illustrate the developers’ desire to keep improving on existing technology, rather than accepting the status quo. After all, our computers inherited keyboards from the typewriters that preceded them, and the mouse (as adopted by Microsoft and Apple) was originally designed by Xerox in 1981 as part of the Star workstation.
Rapid improvements in screen technology have made multi touch much more precise, and allowed for developments like touch screen keyboards, arriving with the first iPhone in 2007. It has also advanced commercially available camera based interfaces that read body movements, like the Sony iMotion for Playstation and the Microsoft Kinect for the Xbox 360.
And gesture reactive interfaces are now moving on in leaps and bounds with things like the Leap Motion. Take a guess at the Leap Motion pre-order price before reading any further.
The answer is just $69.99. An incredible price and leap forward (no pun intended). With this product, Leap are trying to bring market an affordable consumer version of something that Oblong sell to billion dollar industries for hundreds of thousands of pounds. Remember Minority Report? That is Oblong technology’s G-Speak, the gesture interface now being used by Boeing and GE.
Leap Motion has the potential to explode gesture interface possibilities, bringing the user interface into our space. While Oblong is designed to work on a large scales, Leap Motion could be used for mouse and keyboard free PCs, gaming, Computer Aided Design, or as an accessibility tool for disabled users.
Leap are shipping the first 10,000 Motions to developers now and say they will be shipping to customers in early 2013. Can it really be manufactured and sold for $69.99? We’ll wait and see.
And because it's Christmas....