The Leap by Leapmotion is probably the coolest computer peripheral device that I have seen in a long time. It has the potential to be one of those devices that will change the way you interact with computers, much like the trackball, the mouse, the touchpad, and the touch screen changed the way we interface with devices. It is essentially a motion sensor that connects to a computer and detects surrounding objects and tracks their movement.

The Leap is quite revolutionary in the way that it can convert a user’s hand motion (including finger pointing) into user input. It functions in a similar fashion to "Xbox Kinect", except that the Leap has pinpoint accuracy and doesn't require an optical sensor and 6' of distance between you and the device. Leap creates an eight cubic foot “box” around a device that it is connected to via USB and can recognize motions and track movements in that area. The makers claim it is so sensitive that it can distinguish fingers from thumbs and hands from objects such as pointers or pencils. What’s more, it can track movements down to 1/100 of a mm. The website claims that the Leap is 200x's more sensitive than anything other similar device currently available.

The Leap itself is about the size of an external Flash drive. Little information is available about the technology used in the Leap, although it appears to be a mix of hardware sensors (we’ll let you know when a teardown is available) and very sophisticated software algorithms. It is also compatible with Windows native touch emulation interface.

The price for the Leap is set at $69.99 for pre-orders. The Leap isn't available just yet but is expected to be released in early 2013. 

 

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