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Microsoft Kinect Gets Smoked by New Technology
May 24, 2012 09:17 AM
ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND
It started almost a decade ago as science fiction in
20th Century Fox's
) blockbuster film
Then it went on to premiere as a
landmark innovation at the
. This December it arrives as consumer technology. That's right: Humans and computers are about to get much, much closer.
Accorrding to CNET
, a new innovation in hands-free motion control technology is set to revolutionize how we interact with computers. It's called Leap, and, well, it's insanely cool, and a total game-changer.
"Hands-free" might be misleading when describing the new piece of hardware, which is no bigger than your run-of-the-mill USB drive and syncs with any computer wirelessly. Using your hands is sort of the whole point when it comes to Leap. Coordinating with high-tech motion capture software, the device allows users to control what’s on their computer screens with nothing more than thier five-fingered mitts.
Sound familiar? Sure it does. The technology was first popularized by the
) Wii before being reimagined by
) for its Xbox Kinect. The motion sensing controller
earned a Guinness World Record back in 2010
as the “Fastest Selling Consumer Electronics Device” of all time. Any one of the
18 million units
sold by January 2012 has allowed video gamers world wide to replace classic button smashing with active, full body engagement.
But that’s old-hat tech. There’s nothing quite like Leap, whose creators at the San Fransico based startup
Leap Motion say "is 200 times more sensitive than anything else on the market.” The device creates an area of four cubic-feet in which the user's hands engage a computer in 3-dimensional space. No mouse. No keyboard. Just a direct connection between the user and screen.
It’s next-generation technology at its finest, and something you really have to see to believe:
Pretty stunning, isn’t it?
A quick browse through
Leap Motion's website
reveals it has support from a handful of very influential backers: the venture capital firm
Highland Capital Partners
, which has “invested in over 225 seed, early and growth stage companies” since its inception in 1988, including
) and Map Quest -- now owned by
, a venture capital firm whose managing partners include
) founding president Sean Parker;
, a venture capital firm whose notable investments include
); the venture capital firm SOSventures International; Brian McClendon, a VP of Engineering at
) who oversees Google Maps and related projects; Bill Warner, who has started two tech-companies,
) and Wildfire Communications.
What sets the Leap apart from its predecessors (besides the advances in imaging and processing power) is an open application policy for third-party app developers.
Highland Capital's CEO Michael Buckwald explains to CNET, “Think what would have happened if the mouse had initially been released as a closed technology." Adding, "The impact would have been a tiny, tiny percentage of what the impact was because it was an open system that anyone could develop for."
There are over 1,000 developer inquiries already filed, and that number is expected to skyrocket. Leap Motion plans to issue “between 15,000 to 20,000 free developer kits” to developers in industries that are certain to never be the same again. Imagine the applications for medicine, engineering and architecture, teaching, and design.
This is a product and an advance that everybody should be keeping an eye on. With a $70 price tag, the device is primed for adoption by the masses. I’ve already pre-ordered mine.
What’s stopping you?
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