'The Leap Motion Controller senses how you naturally move your hands and lets you use your computer in a whole new way. Point, wave, reach, grab. Pick something up and move it. Do things you never dreamed possible.'
- Leap Motion
Where can I start? What an amazingly complex, and futuristic piece of kit! I know it sounds really clichéd, but the possibilities for this device are endless! My favourite project that has been completed with the Leap Motion can be found here, it's Pixar in real life!
When the device arrived in the post, and I eagerly cracked open the box, I was pleased to find two different length cables to connect the device to the computer with. One of them was a perfect length so that the controller could be placed just in front of a laptop, with the lead a perfect length to plug straight into the USB port. The second cable was nice and long, just in case of use with a desktop, or any kind of project requiring a longer distance between the controller and the operating machine.
Once I had had a good look at the device itself (very cool looking), I began to get my laptop ready to use it. Unfortunately, it needs special driver software to be installed on the computer it needs to be used with, it isn't plug and play (like a normal keyboard/mouse). However, having the software like this allows Leap Motion to automatically release updates, constantly improving the usability of the device. The software was quick and easy to set up, and can be found by clicking here. The software that is downloaded includes Airspace, the app store for the Leap Motion. When first using the Leap Motion, boot up Airspace, and run the pre-loaded application named 'Orientation'. This will show you the range of the controller, and the best ways to use it to maximise fun and efficiency.
The app store (Airspace) contains lots of games and educational apps, as well as functional ones (such as using the controller as a mouse). Each app is designed specifically for use with the controller. Some of the apps that I downloaded and thought were particularly good were:
- Google Earth (Fly around the world in 3D, with 3D buildings, and feel a little like superman!
- Cyber Science 3D: Zoology (Dissect animals and insects with your hands, and learn all about the internal workings in a fun and interactive way)
- Telekinetic (A fun game involving throwing boxes at robots - it is more fun than it sounds, promise!)
- Touchless (Control your PC or Mac with your hands, it is a pretty cool experience, but not as quick as a mouse)
- BoomBall Adventures (3D Pong - Fab!)
After playing these games, you see how amazingly fun, and useful the Leap Motion is. It reacts instantaneously to your movements, and is incredibly precise and accurate. When using the app 'Touchless', it seems quite fiddly and time consuming to even click on something, but if you follow the tutorials in the app, and use it often enough, you will quickly adapt and make the most of the software. I found that the leaning curve from using the Leap Motion is very steep.
Overall, I thought that the Leap Motion is definitely an insight into the exciting world of technology in the future, and has some very strong points, and useful things to do with it. My favourite points are outlined below:
- Immersive, interactive games, becoming almost 4D.
- Controlling the computer without touching it (while cooking)
- Leaning in a hands-on way, when the resources may not be available.
- Looking like you are from a sci-fi movie by scrolling your computer by waving your hands!
I definitely enjoyed using the Leap Motion, and it has definitely changed the way that I interact with my computer, and will definately use it more often than not.