new kinect style 3D motion controller: Leap

Nope, this is not the iPhone5 🙂 The Microsoft Kinect aging more than two years now, is somewhat antiquated in terms of technical evolution. Sure it still is the best you can get in the field of motion detection on the free market, also being supported by a huge developer community. But now a startup has presented a much smaller and smoother device: The Leap.

The Leap is a small iPod sized USB peripheral that creates a 3D interaction space of 250 cubic centimeters to precisely interact with and control software on your laptop or desktop computer. It’s like being able to reach into the computer and pull out information as easily as reaching into a cookie jar.

The main difference to the kinect seems to be that at the current stage the leap will only detect one person with very high detail and not several individuals of a group. The Leap senses your individual hand and finger movements independently, as well as items like a pen. In fact, it’s 200x more sensitive than existing touch-free products and technologies. It’s the difference between sensing an arm swiping through the air and being able to create a precise digital signature with a fingertip or pen.

As Leap Motion tells on their website Leap isn’t a game system that roughly maps your hand movements. The Leap technology is said to be 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.

You can already get an SDK, the Leap will retail for $69.99 and a limited number are currently available for pre-order at LeapMotion.com. Leap motion is estimating that the first units will ship in December (2012) or January (2013).