After being delayed by a couple of months, the Leap motion controller is finally shipping. Pre-orders started going out last week, according to Leap’s official blog, and the device is slated to be available at Best Buy starting July 28. Leap is also selling the motion controller through its online store for $80.
"Hundreds of thousands" of people have pre-ordered the Leap, according to today’s press release, and there appears to be a decent amount of software ready to support the motion controller. Leap’s Airspace Store has 75 applications, including games, productivity utilities, and creative tools. Most of the apps are free or cost only a few dollars. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like anyone has come up with a Minority Report-style skin for Windows 8… yet.
If you’re not familiar with the Leap controller, the video below does a good job of highlighting what it’s all about.
The thumb-drive-sized device can track motion within an area of eight cubic feet. It’s sensitive enough to detect movements of just 0.01 millimeters, making the controller considerably more accurate than Microsoft’s current-generation Kinect system. Unlike Kinect, which is designed to track motions from across the room, the Leap is geared toward monitoring movements made directly in front of your PC.
Controlling your PC with an outstretched arm isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world—especially for prolonged periods. However, there’s something to be said for using gestures to augment more traditional PC interfaces. Windows 8’s touch-centric gestures might actually be useful on a desktop PC if they could be invoked by waving one’s hands just above the keyboard. Asus and HP have already pledged to integrate Leap’s controller into select systems, and with hundreds of thousands of devices in the hands of developers and early adopters, the technology might just catch on.