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Leap Motion and mobile — it could happen

By Joe Hewitson / April 16, 2013


The increasing ubiquity of mobile devices has fostered incredible innovation in recent years. Now Leap Motion may further change how we interact with them, taking us from touchscreen to touchless.

A game-changing interface

Leap Motion was born out of frustration with the ineptness of traditional computer modeling tools (namely, a keyboard and mouse) that are hard pressed to mimic natural human gestures. Connecting a small Leap Motion sensor to your computer — and eventually mobile devices — opens up an elegant new way to interact with applications. This suave motion detector can capture gestures with accuracy down to the hundredth of a millimeter.

By providing users with the ability to control a device without physically touching it, wonderful new possibilities arise — especially when it comes to mobile computing. Any situation in which you’ve found yourself awkwardly balancing your device while simultaneously attempting to interface with an app will be instantly resolved with this technology. A prime example of this is just about any application that involves handwriting. Without the need for the device to discern between a palm touch and a pen touch, erroneous marks are relieved, along with improvements in handwriting accuracy and efficiency.

Bringing motion to mobile

Experts see the Leap Motion sensor being integrated into everything from tablets to automobiles. For example, Leap Motion could help drivers using navigation software interact more easily with the interface while on the road. This would be accomplished by using the sensor to detect gestures orchestrated in the empty space in front of drivers, keeping their focus on the road instead of a screen.

Leap Motion also provides an opportunity for more efficient human-to-device interaction. By making it easier for us to engage with our devices, and trimming the time it takes to navigate applications, data can be entered and manipulated more quickly than it would be with traditional input methods. We’ve already started to see this type of transition in the move from keyboard and mouse to touch interfaces. The next logical transition would be to go from that flat 2D touchscreen to 3D input manipulation (think Minority Report).

Although this technology will focus on computer applications when it’s initially released to the public in May, its founders have already begun reaching out to mobile app developers. For more in-depth demonstrations of this tech, visit Leap’s site and see its potential for yourself.