Startup Leap Motion wasn't kidding when it said that it had a tiny peripheral that could read gestures "200 times more accurate than anything else on the market." We caught up with the Leap to see if it really is a mouse and keyboard killer.
We'll admit that we were extremely skeptic of the Leap's tracking capabilities but after only a few minutes of seeing it in action and then trying it for ourselves, we're happy to report that it works as advertised.
Accurate down to 1/100th of a millimeter and capable of recognizing 10 fingers at once, Leap thoroughly impressed us. Playing a round of Fruit Ninja by slashing fruit with one finger was entertaining and exploring a 3D map was also much more intuitive than with a mouse.
It's really tough to portray just how precise the Leap is, so we'll defer you to the video we shot of the Leap below.
For all its precision, the Leap also has its share of weaknesses. First, gestures can only be recognized within four cubic square feet of the device, so its range is a bit limited (it's got nothing on Kinect in terms of range). We found ourselves wagging our fingers outside of the range several times. Two, your hand and arm are more susceptible to fatigue than with operating a mouse or trackpad because you're holding your hand up in the air as opposed to resting it on a surface. Three, the Mac that was on-hand running Windows 7 was already starting to overload and slow down with only six Leap-ready apps open. If every app had Leap support baked right in, our computers would be Blue Screening themselves into eternity.
Of course, we were fooling around with a prototype, so any bugs present at the hands-on could be ironed out by the time Leap Motion ships the $70 Leap in December/January 2013.
Is the Leap a mouse killer? It's a nice demo, for sure, but unless developers get behind it in droves, we see it's usage to be limited.
Via Leap Motion