Meet “The Leap,” a Shiny Little Box That Could Revolutionize Computing

Quite a start-up, Leap Motion. They could dramatically change the way we interact with computers — and therefore how we’ll edit images. Computers have always been remarkable, says Leap Motion. The ways we’ve connected to those computers, however, have always struck them as clunky. Typing? Seriously? That’s fine for writing a novel. But it’s hardly the most natural, intuitive way to communicate.

The Leap could change the way we interact with computers |
The future may have finally arrived. If you are, like me, a passionate photographer and fan of future technology, then take a closer look at their website. Then look at the price below. If your jaw doesn’t drop, you’re made of sterner stuff than I. What a steal. What are you waiting for, preorder the thing!

Leap Motion is about to release a product that allows you to control your computer with your finger, hand, pencil — anything in the air. Accuracy is incredibly precise at 1/100 of a millimeter and it’s size is that of a thumb drive.

This little box could revolutionize the future of input peripherals and bring us yet another step closer to the technology we saw in the movie Minority Report. It’s been the dream of every geek since the movie was released in 2002; the ability to control a computer by the wave of your hand and edit photos with the flick of your finger.

Yes, what does The Leap mean for photographers? If you search their forum for keywords such as Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture, you’ll quickly find out that developers are onto integration with mainstream graphic/video/audio editing software. Well this would be a huge selling point.

The future in the size of a thumb drive |
They’re still some way off the key goal to reach gesturer independence. Some of those software packages will take some time to set up and configure (lots of commands to decide “type or swipe?”). Just look at The Leap package as a really fancy mouse with macros — you don’t have to touch it, and pretty much anything you could possibly type into your computer to tell it to do, you will be able to gesture and tell it to do the same things.

From Leap Motion’s support we got this answer:

The Leap will be able to emulate a keyboard, mouse, stylus and multi-touch screen, as well as provide its 3D input information to applications designed to take full advantage of it.

Photo editing and other related elements of art are something there is a great interest in harnessing the Leap to support, and through our Developer Kit program we are helping new and old applications alike be able to utilize the full power of The Leap!

From the company’s website:

Say goodbye to your mouse and keyboard.

The Leap represents an entirely new way to interact with your computers. It’s more accurate than a mouse, as reliable as a keyboard and more sensitive than a touchscreen. For the first time, you can control a computer in three dimensions with your natural hand and finger movements.

This isn’t a game system that roughly maps your hand movements. The Leap technology is 200 times more accurate than anything else on the market — at any price point. Just about the size of a flash drive, The Leap can distinguish your individual fingers and track your movements down to a 1/100th of a millimeter.

This is like day one of the mouse. Except, no one needs an instruction manual for their hands.

Anyone can use The Leap to interact with Windows 7/8 or Mac OS X by clicking, grabbing, scrolling and using familiar gestures like pinch to zoom in 3D space.

If Leap is as accurate as they say, the brush “pressure” could work even better than a tablet, although the lack of a surface might feel awkward at first.

But then again, drawing in the air (with the whole arm above the desk) would cause fatigue relatively quickly. This thing is incredible… at least for as long as you can hold your hands in the air. So don’t skip the gym yet! Seriously, turning The Leap onto the side, facing the desk, would make it possible to use any surface as tablet or making even the screen to a “touchscreen.” For the “pressure thingy” though to work, they still have to find a workaround for it. It is not possible as of yet to detect pressure.

But then again, don’t think of The Leap as a reimplementation of older stuff you’re used to. This is the new generation interface. Rather be interested in completely novel potential of it.

At $70, this gadget’s a bargain. If it’s as good as it looks, it could change the way we use computers very quickly.

I reckon instead of the trackpad we might get Leap technology in a laptop soon. Hail the future.

Leap Motion expects shipping of preorders to commence in February 2013.