Who remembers this scene from the Tom Cruise blockbuster "Minority Report"?
Ah, the notion of moving screens and running computers with simply a twist of the wrist or the mere flick of a finger. Imagine how limitless the possibilities would be! Who knows how many years it will be before we can navigate display and interfaces like this...er, wait. [Cue record scratch] We actually know exactly how long and it's not long. Try a few weeks, in fact.
You read correctly - gestural interfaces and recognition like this are actually already in the marketplace and you can even pre-order this technology now from a company called Leap Motion. As we readied ourselves for the trip to SXSW in March, we were paying particular attention to some high-profile (and fun!) new technology that we'd be able to look at and experience ourselves during our time in Austin. I had noticed that Leap Motion was among those companies present and I made darned sure that I got a chance to play with the motion device while I was there.
So, what is it? Well, it's a small bar (about the width of a smartphone) that you place in front of your laptop, desktop or smart TV that senses the motion, distance and speed of you hand movement. According to Leap Motion, their controller "senses how you move your hands, the way you move them naturally. So you can point, wave, reach, and grab. Even pick something up and put it down. Just like in real life. It's an amazing device for the things you do every day and for things you never thought you could do." Now, without all those dark sets, serious looks and thriller-film-grit, this sounds pretty similar to that first scene from "Minority Report", doesn't it? Just check out this Vine video that I snapped during our time in Austin...
We've even got an "early-adopter" in the office here at House Party that's eagerly awaiting his pre-ordered Leap Motion controller. This in-house, self-described techie, Josh, says that he, "Bought Leap Motion because I'm tired of the limited options I have to interact with my digital environment... I want my hands to be set free. These glorious products of evolution (if that's your bag) have painted the Mona Lisa, written the US Constitution and drawn a smiley face on a 5th grade student's history paper. Today, they're constrained to a keyboard. Same keys, same look...for everyone."
What do you think? It looks like the future's here already, what would you use the Leap Motion controller for?
Photo courtesy of Critical Commons
Video courtesy of Critical Commons