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Wednesday 25 July 2012

Leap Motion and the Future

It's not often that I get excited about new technology.  I work in IT so I should be a gadget geek but to me most are just obvious innovations or toys that won't make a significant difference however sometimes a new thing just opens up a world of possibilities.  I think the Leap is one of those.

This is a sensor that detects detailed hand movement to control a computer.

If it works as well as they claim then in my opinion this will change how we control lots of things.  It should make touch screens obsolete.  It could be used in cars, for your cooker, light switches, your TV, for phones for games...

There are so many obvious innovations that come out of it.

The Future

The first change I hope to use would be a keyboard and mouse free desk.  The keyboard could be replaced by anything, just a bit of paper with the letters on would be enough.  The cursor movement could just follow your finger so the mouse is no longer necessary.

I can't help leaping (pun intended) ahead to the next obvious stage.  That will be for 3D screens to project a 3D keyboard.  You can then type on moving or static 3D images of the keys from a keyboard.  They could move as you press them.  I am sure you could even get audible and perhaps one day tactile feedback using focused or inaudible low frequency sound or something else that activates the nerve endings (a bit Sci-Fi here).

Some of this is a bit difficult at the moment.  I think projecting 3D in to mid air is still tricky at a price any of us are prepared to pay.  It would need some low cost method of lasers interacting with each other to produce visible light in mid air.  I don't know how existing 3D screens work.  I assume the most obvious would be to have a gas or particles to project against.  I am not sure if anyone has anything reacting with air.  I am sure people cleverer than I have already though of all these possible solutions.

All those ideas just from one new device.

Anyway, back to my point, this little thing opens up a world of possibilities.

I pre-ordered mine months ago.


This was very disappointing. Its use was too limited to be of any use.
I'm pretty sure that this type of interface will have its place at some time in the future but it's not there yet.