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May 23, 2012

Leap Motion Develops Device More Accurate Than The Kinect

By Miguel Leiva-Gomez, TMCnet Contributor

A lot of innovation has been going on in the last decade. Apple (News - Alert) came up with multi-touch interfaces, Google gave us voice and image searches, Nintendo created the Wii, and Microsoft spiced up the gaming industry with its Kinect.

Recently, Leap Motion also developed something called "The Leap," a Kinect-like interface that's 200 times more accurate than Microsoft's (News - Alert) product. This device attaches to a computer and lets you use the entire PC as a motion-controlled device. That means that you'll be able to wave your hands in the air to signal the PC to do things like move Windows, click, draw objects, and move around in a game.

The Leap will sell for just under $70 dollars, and is expected to arrive on shelves in winter this year. The device resembles a small smartphone with a white border as far as Leap Motion's video shows. At this time, Leap Motion has announced that it will now accept pre-orders.

The Leap gives off infrared waves - like Microsoft's Kinect does - to determine whether an object is present, and to determine its current location. Its sensors can detect objects within a 4-cubic foot range and tracks their movement within the computer's own interface. Unlike the Kinect, the Leap detects tiny details in the movement of any present object, allowing for more accurate tracking. Its accuracy is impressive, detecting movements down to 1/100th of a millimeter. This would be essential for people doing animation and modeling.

Michael Buckwald, CEO of Leap Motion, said, "It was this gap between what's easy in the real world but very complicated to do digitally, like molding a piece of clay or creating a 3D model, that inspired us to create the Leap and fundamentally change how people work with their computers."

In the coming months, Leap Motion will release a software development kit (SDK) in hopes that application developers will catch on to this new idea. The company states that the Leap would be paramount not only to 3D modelers, but also to gamers and people who want to make quick transfers of files.

So far, Leap Motion has acquired more than $14 million in funding since last year, most of it coming in this week.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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