A Tiny Device With Huge Possibilities: Leap Motion Controller

Last update: 04/04/2014

A tech review by Yuneswari Muniandy

The Leap Motion controller is a small USB peripheral device which is planned to be located along a physical desktop, looking up.

Using two monochromatic IR cameras and three infrared LEDs, the device follows a roughly hemispherical area, to a length of around 1 m (3 bases).

It tracks both hands and all 10 fingers with pinpoint precision and incredible speed.

The LEDs generate a 3D design of dots of IR light and the cameras generate almost 300 shapes per second of reflected data, which is then transmitted through a USB cable to the host computer, where it is examined by the Leap Motion controller software using "complex math" in a manner that has not been unwrapped by the company, in some way synthesizing 3D position information by comparing the 2D frames generated by the two cameras.

Leap Motion won a great deal of buzz early on for its motion controller, which is designed to make it possible for users to interact with their computer through gestures only.

The smaller observation area and higher resolution of the device differentiates the product from the Kinect, which is more suitable for whole-body tracking in a space the size of a living room.

The Leap was shown to perform tasks such as navigating a website, using pinch-to-zoom gestures on maps, high-precision drawing, and manipulating complex 3D data visualizations.

Minimum System Requirements

Compatibility: Windows 7 or 8 or Mac OS X 10.7 Mountain LiOn

Hardware: AMD Phenom™ II or Intel® Core™ i3, i5 or i7 processor; 2GB RAM; USB 2.0 port; Internet connection

What's included

Leap Motion™ Controller

2 Cords: 61cm (for laptops) and 152cm (for desktops)

Type of Cable: USB 2.0 (micro USB 3.0 connectors)

Connection Type: USB