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New Developments in Motion Sensing Technology- The Leap Motion

Posted on the 31 October 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost

A few years back, the motion-controlled technology such as that in the film ‘Minority Report’ was still restricted to science fiction. However, fiction became fact with the release of Nintendo’s Wii and its ground-breaking Motion Plus technology. Microsoft’s Kinect soon followed and went from being a breakthrough to a household name within months, capturing the record as the fastest selling consumer electronics device.

One advantage the Kinect boasted was its ability to operate on Windows computers including laptops as well as on a separate gaming console. With the advent of cloud gaming, this was a critical step and maintained Kinect’s success. Other manufacturers have followed suit with Playstation developing their ‘Move’ system.

All of these motion-sensing technologies essentially operate in a similar way: they track body movements. The next step has been to attempt to refine the tracking elements, so that they can pick up more intricate detail such as finger movements.

As developers work hard to refine this technology, it has been made a reality in – yes, you’ve guessed it –San Francisco. Yet another tech start-up, founded by PhD mathematician David Holz and David Buckwald, has created a truly remarkable piece of technology called Leap Motion.

The Leap Motion is about the size of an iPod nano, and has been designed for 3D tracking at close proximity. The amazing thing is that it can accurately track the movement of all ten fingers, all at the same time. And when we say accurate, the developers claim it is 200 times more sensitive than the best technology out at the moment, and is capable of accuracy to one-hundredth of a millimeter.

Due to the ability of the device to track the fine movements of every finger, its propagation is believed to spell the end of the mouse and keyboard. Users can easily scroll up and down a page, highlight and drag files and navigate 3D images with the simple movement of just one finger, over an area of just a few inches.

Connecting the device to a PC, laptop, or tablet via USB and installing its software is all that is needed to get it up and running. The fact that the device is compatible with almost all computing units, be it laptops or all in one computers makes it even easier to enjoy the benefits of Leap Motion – whether you want to play a game, draw a picture, create a 3D model, sign a document, or just access files and folders in your computer.

The applications for this technology are endless. Apart from everyday computer use such as commercial presentation work, the technology is being looked at for use in gaming, robotics, graphic design, and surgery, as well as a host of other areas.

Surgeons have recently attempted to perform surgery on patients from a remote location, outside of the operating theater. This has been a limited option due to the inability of surgeons to perform work involving finer movements. However, Leap Motion looks set to do away with this barrier.

And at a cost of just $69.99, it is set to be a hugely popular device when it is released in early 2013. It is also likely to spawn a wave of similar technology from other developers, leading to enhancements that will completely revolutionize our interaction with electronic devices.

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