Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Leap Motion Controller - Review

So, my latest Kickstarter perk got here, a new piece of hardware, the Leap Motion Controller.  I kicked in a few bucks six or eight months back and got a reduced price.

In theory, it's a really cool idea. It picks up the movement of your hand over it, can separate and recognize individual fingers, and there is a program that will allow it to do pretty much what a smart mouse will do. It's about the size of a pack of gum, connected  to your computer via USB.

There are some visual toys and games you can get for free.

It's mostly 1.0 on the available software; you probably know what that means, and I expect that a lot more stuff will eventually be programmed for it, art, CAD, like that.

The hardware works okay. I had a bitch of a time getting into the site to download the software; it didn't like my email and password, and I wound up changing the latter five times before it worked. You log into their Airspace site, click on the software you want, and it installs it automatically.

I got a couple of the basic programs and some of the pretty art things, and got it working, but I am sad to to say, it's not ready for prime time. Rather like the ultra-light-pressure keyboard I once had that was so sensitive that if a drop of water fell onto it, it would type a letter, this device requires a most steady hand. Getting the skill so that you can reliably open and close windows, click or double-click the mouse, scroll, drop-and-drag is going to need more practice than I'm willing to do. You have to have a precision that is akin to stacking greased BB's. Want to tap the red close-window button or highlight text? Open menus? I can't manage it consistently. Even with my arm propped on the chair support and everything steady, restricted to small finger motions, it's iffy.

I'm thinking it will need hours of dedicated training. And I'm sure there are folks who will manage this and love it, but not me.

If you have a tremor? Won't happen as it is now.

Maybe the next gen software will add some kind of steadi-cam or smart-ID hot button functions. As it stands, it's a fun toy to play with, but it isn't ready to replace my track pad.
Not even close.

Too bad. I had hopes for this one.


J.D. Ray said...

Maybe turn it into some sort of advanced theramin.

Steve Perry said...

Already in the works ...


Kendall Giles said...

That's too bad. One neat music application I've seen though is this one, using the Leap Motion controller:


Kris said...

You might look in to this, as well: