I recently received my brand new Leap Motion Controller in the mail. I had a gift certificate from Best Buy so I figured why not give it a try.
I read about this project months ago where they were demonstrating a device that would bring ‘Minority Report-like’ controls to life. Consider me interested. I followed this device somewhat loosely as I wasn’t sold on motion controls, but with implementations like the Wii and Xbox Kinect, things have definitely been moving in the right direction.
Out of the box you have this tiny little device that’s about the size of a package of Watermelon Bubble Yum. You plug it into an available USB port, download the software and you’re all set.
You are taken through a series of demos that show how the device tracks your hands and familiarizes you with the space you can work within. It shows your hand tracking in 3D space. Not a functional piece of software, but it gets you pretty excited to use this thing. It’s amazingly accurate at tracking your movements.
Once you get past the Orientation you enter the Airspace store where, like the Apple App Store, are able to purchase additional software that can make use of the Leap Motion device. It’s a nice store, laid out well and easy to find new software. The selection is fairly limited for now, but in the past few weeks I’ve seen the selection almost double so there are obviously people developing for this.
What’s my take?
Now that it’s 2013 we’re starting to see some really great uses of touch controls on tablet and computing devices. Remember when the iPhone first came out? The touch felt more like a gimmick than an benefit and people complained that it would never be as fast as using their traditional keys on their Blackberry devices. Now you never hear anyone complain about the touch screen and we’re seeing more and more UX/UI changes that really utilize the technology. Swiping to access menus just makes sense. Multiple fingers to access different functionality on the fly is efficient.
Why am I talking about touch screens when this thing requires you to touch nothing? Growing pains. Like every new innovate technology it takes years to be able to really truly make good use of it. Look at the Playstation. It typically takes developers 2-3 years to able to make really stunning games that can use the full capability of the system. It’s proven that that cycle is shorter now, but the analogy holds true.
Every day, more and more apps are added to the Airspace store by developers. I give it a couple of months and we’ll start to see some original content that really takes advantage of this device. It’s too early to say it’s not worth it; after all, I kind of said the same thing about the iPhone.