The Visualist Blog

Human-Device Interaction Takes a Leap Forward

Leap Motion released information about the Leap, their upcoming 3D motion sensor. Just in the fledgling of touchscreen displays, along comes a new device that might change the way we interact with our computers entirely. It’s also fast, cheap, and extremely precise. The product is still in development, and won’t be available until as early as December 2012. But it’s already is being dubbed as  a threat to Microsoft’s Kinect.

I’ve actually talked with these guys about their technology, and I was even impressed while they were still in stealth mode. Now that they have launched to the public, it’ll be interesting to see what the adoption curve will look like.  In the past, new UI models have had a hard time becoming pervasive because they productize in a way that makes existing technologies difficult to integrate. For example, multi-touch can’t directly replace the mouse/keyboard model, because it lacks ergonomic comfort when used for extended periods.

The Leap will likely be incredibly useful for designers, gamers, 3D modelers and some extreme technology users, but I don’t know if the general population will embrace it. I can’t see this entirely replacing the mouse and keyboard, but it’s already generating so much buzz, and they’re still several months out.  At the $70 price point, I could see many people buying one for the fun of it, but it’s hard to say whether this will be the future of how people interact with their devices, or whether it’s just a fad in the making.

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