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Leap Motion demos Windows 8 compatibility

Leap Motion demos Windows 8 compatibility

Leap Motion's eponymous controller has been demonstrated interacting with Microsoft's Windows 8 Modern UI without the need for a touch-screen display.

Leap Motion, the company behind the eponymous gesture-sensing human-machine interaction (HMI) system, has released a video demonstrating how the technology works in conjunction with Microsoft's undeniably touch-centric Windows 8 operating system.

The latest in Microsoft's long-running Windows software series, Windows 8 came in for a great deal of flak at launch when it introduced the Modern UI. Previously known as Metro, Modern UI is a tile-based user interface developed from that originally created for Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. While tweaked for larger screens, Modern UI retains its focus on touch-screen interaction - a focus shared by Microsoft, which is currently working hard to bring touch-screen technology from tablets into mainstream computing.

The problem, Modern UI's detractors claim, is that most laptops and almost all desktops do not currently have a touch-screen. An interface that works great on a tablet does not, therefore, translate to the desktop terribly well - a fact Microsoft has tacitly acknowledged with a promise to revisit the keyboard-and-mouse experience when it launches the Windows 8.1 update later this year.

With most users not willing to trade in their monitors for touch-screen versions, Leap Motion had a bright idea: the development of a gesture-based control system that can sit unobtrusively in front of the screen and pick up the user's fingertips with a claimed accuracy of 0.01mm at a claimed 290 frames per second. The device works with any monitor - technically, it works fine without a monitor, too, but you won't be able to see what you're doing - and, because it's contact-free, doesn't need you to stop and clean mucky fingerprints off the screen every half-hour.

The company's concept proved popular: it raised nearly $43 million in funding and has the support of hardware and software partners from Asus to ZeptoLabs - the latter being the company behind popular swipe-based tablet and smartphone game Cut the Rope.

Gaming isn't the only feature of Leap Motion, however. As well as promised plug-ins for Autodesk software that claim to make 3D modelling significantly more straightforward, the company has worked hard on interfacing the system with the underlying operating system - a task made easier by Modern UI's focus on gesture- and touch-based interaction.

A video released by the company reveals how far the technology has come from the early prototypes it has previously displayed. 'From the second you plug in your Leap Motion Controller, you’ll be able to browse the web and interact with your computer just by moving your hands and fingers in the air,' a company spokesperson crowed at the release of the video. 'With Leap Motion technology and Windows, you can do everything that’s possible with multi-touch inputs — without actually touching anything. This also means that existing applications in Windows 7 and 8 will respond to your natural hand and finger movements.'

The company has promised to release a second video demonstrating the controller's interaction with Apple's OS X platform, but these teasers are likely to leave fans concerned about repeated delays. Originally scheduled to launch last year but delayed for last-minute tweaks, Leap Motion claimed in February that it had a May release in mind. Now, however, the company is claiming that pre-orders - some of which it had received nearly a year ago - will not be shipping until the 22nd of July.

The company's demonstration video is reproduced below, while more information is available on the official website.

13 Comments

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Stanley Tweedle 21st May 2013, 12:14 Quote
Looks good. I have no trouble embracing new technology. The real benchmark however is whether you can do tasks easier with it or with mouse.
Corky42 21st May 2013, 13:29 Quote
Or if you can work without having your hand resting on a desk, im thinking peoples arms will get tired pretty quick even if you rest your elbow on the desk.
Also from the video it looks like a mouse cursor shows up a few times, does than mean its using a type of mouse input ?
Stanley Tweedle 21st May 2013, 13:41 Quote
I think the people who can't move their arms around without getting tired either have muscle apathy or other medical conditions. It's not something you need to be using all the time but for particular applications it should be fine. I had the awful SR1 racing wheel for 2 days before it died and I found I had absolutely no issues holding the wheel up to drive. I returned it for a refund after it stopped working 2 days after purchase.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5bSzVByLjM
Guinevere 21st May 2013, 14:35 Quote
I'm looking forward to a time when for a task which is mostly typing (Writing & coding being my main two) I can keep my hands in the 'home' position 100% of the time and still have control over the app I'm using without having to resort to playing 'shortcut twister' with my keyboard.

I want is a device that has the ability to recognise when my fingers lift up an inch from the keyboard and are finely tuned enough to pick up and identify gestures.

And 3D gestures, not just those 2D gestures we use on our tablets and trackpads.

Leap motion could be that device.
Yslen 21st May 2013, 15:22 Quote
I've been watching this for quite a while now, planning to get one later in the year, assuming the consensus from reviews is that the previews were accurate. It does look like a very nice way to interact with the OS, and I can think of a lot of uses for it, especially as I edit a lot of photos.
Gareth Halfacree 21st May 2013, 15:36 Quote
I have to admit, I'm tempted to pick one up myself. At first, the decision was easy: it didn't support Linux, so I didn't want it (and couldn't use it even if I did.) Trouble is, with all the delays its had, Leap Motion has been able to get Linux support up and running - so now I'm resisting splashing out money I don't really have on yet another gadget I don't need by willpower alone.

That doesn't usually end well, as the Xperia Tablet Z sitting to my right will attest.
Corky42 21st May 2013, 15:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stanley Tweedle
I think the people who can't move their arms around without getting tired either have muscle apathy or other medical conditions. It's not something you need to be using all the time but for particular applications it should be fine. I had the awful SR1 racing wheel for 2 days before it died and I found I had absolutely no issues holding the wheel up to drive. I returned it for a refund after it stopped working 2 days after purchase.

Holding a steering wheel close to you body is a lot different from having just one arm extended away from your body, to prevent eye strain its advised to have your monitor around 40-45 inch's away. so you either live with eye strain or arm strain.
MrJay 21st May 2013, 16:06 Quote
Do want!...But i have know idea why, id say the price is spot on!
enciem 21st May 2013, 18:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stanley Tweedle
I think the people who can't move their arms around without getting tired either have muscle apathy or other medical conditions. It's not something you need to be using all the time but for particular applications it should be fine. I had the awful SR1 racing wheel for 2 days before it died and I found I had absolutely no issues holding the wheel up to drive. I returned it for a refund after it stopped working 2 days after purchase.

Holding a steering wheel close to you body is a lot different from having just one arm extended away from your body, to prevent eye strain its advised to have your monitor around 40-45 inch's away. so you either live with eye strain or arm strain.

40-45 inches away? Can you see your screen from back there. Think it's more like 20" dude
bigc90210 21st May 2013, 18:32 Quote
pre ordered, cant wait!
Corky42 21st May 2013, 19:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by enciem
40-45 inches away? Can you see your screen from back there. Think it's more like 20" dude

Well the United States Labor Dept says "Generally, the preferred viewing distance is between 20 and 40 inches"
And all other research (warning PDF) points to the optimal viewing distance to be 40" as that is the average persons point of vergence.
Stanley Tweedle 21st May 2013, 20:24 Quote
I'm now going to wave my arms around randomly for 30 mins and see how I feel. If I like how it feels I will buy one.
Corky42 22nd May 2013, 09:07 Quote
Good job you don't control leap by waving your arms around randomly then isn't it :)
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