Leap adds motion sensing control to any PC or Mac -- for only $70

Summary:Step aside, touchscreens. A simple iPod-sized gadget promises to add Minority Report or Iron Man-style motion sensing control to any desktop or notebook computer -- all for $70.

Forget touch-enabled systems, a small iPod-sized peripheral called Leap promises to add motion sensing to any PC or Mac -- for $70.

Leap is described as "an entirely new way to interact with your computers" and claims to be more accurate than using a mouse, as reliable as using a keyboard and more sensitive than any touchscreen. The device, which sits on the desk either in front of the keyboard or screen, is claimed to be 200 times more accurate than any other device on the market and can track the movement of a finger or pen down to an accuracy of 1/100th of a millimeter.

That's extremely accurate.

According to the blurb, using Leap is easy. You plug it into a free USB port, load the software, calibrate the system by waving your hands, and you're done.

After it is set up, the Leap uses natural gestures such as tapping, grabbing and pinching to control software on the PC. Moreover, if the video is representative of the final product, Leap seems like it is both incredibly accurate and exceedingly easy to use.

Motion sensing technology is interesting because it eliminates a number of problems that are associated with touchscreen technology. There's no need to actually touch the screen, which keeps it clean and eliminates wobble, you can choose how far you have to reach forward with your hands without having to compromise on screen distance, and you can use tools such as pens and pencils to point -- something that both won't work and isn't recommended with a touchscreen display.

I'm usually wary of technology that looks like it has been inspired by movies such as Minority Report or Iron Man, but this technology seems very interesting, and in fact, Leap seems to be better suited to desktop and notebook use than Microsoft's Kinect motion sensor. And at $70, you don't need Tony Stark's bank balance to afford it.

This simple peripheral could make Windows 8 on desktop and notebook more usable, and allow the touch-enabled features to leverage without the need to buy and fit new screens.

Leap is currently available for pre-order and is expected to ship February 2013. Developers can get their hands on an SDK by filling in an application form.

Image source: Leap.

Topics: Hardware, Laptops, PCs

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.