Monday, July 22, 2013

Leap Motion Is Here - Review

Leap Motion first impressions: There's work to do

PCWorld - After more than a year of hype and some impressive canned demos, Leap Motion is finally here.

The $79 motion controller for Windows and Mac is available for purchase, and its app store is up and running. I've been playing with a Leap unit provided by the company since last Thursday.

It's hard not to be impressed with Leap Motion on a basic level. Here's a motion controller that's more precise than Microsoft's Kinect, for a fraction of the cost, in a package small enough to sit discretely on a desk. Although Leap doesn't have a video camera like Kinect, it's able to detect the motion of individual fingers.

But is it practical, and does it work as well as it looked in all the promo videos we've seen over the last year? That's where things get a little messy.

Leap Motion
Leap Motion's Airspace Home is used to launch most of
LM's roster of promising, if inconsistent apps.
Leap's biggest problem is inconsistency in the quality and behavior of its apps, which for the most part are launched through an app hub dubbed “Airspace Home.” Some apps, such as Corel's Painter Freestyle and Leap's own Touchless mouse control app, use a 3D vertical plane to register input.

Move your finger beyond that plane, and it's as if you're clicking with a mouse. This works terribly in practice because you have no physical feedback for when your finger has crossed the plane. In Painter, it's too difficult to control when you're actually drawing, and in Touchless, it's too easy to accidentally click on things.   More