Leap Motion controller could bridge the chasm between iPad and iMac [Video]

USD $79.99 @ LEAP Motion

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The Leap Motion controller ($79.99) is one of the most promising gesture-control peripheral I’ve seen, and I can’t wait to get my (ahem) hands on one. What makes it impressive is that it’s small, simple, and affordable. It connects to a Mac (or Windows PC) via USB, and allows you to control software using 3D hand and finger gestures in the air above the device.

It’s well suited for everything from stylus-based drawing and painting applications to signing PDF documents and creating 3D models with your bare hands. And games? Forget about it. But perhaps the most promising application for the Leap Motion Controller is in window and desktop management in the OS X Finder — yes, like in Minority Report.

According to Leap, Motion is “200 times more accurate than anything else on the market — at any price point.” It’s about the size of a flash drive, and Leap claims that it can track your individual finger movements to one-hundredth of a millimeter.

The most promising aspect of no-touch controllers like Leap Motion is that they have the potential to solve the last mile problem as desktop computers transform into tablets. Touchscreens are very expensive to add to notebooks and desktop-class monitors, but a gesture-based controller like the Leap Motion could eliminate costly touchscreen panel and solve the ergonomics problems associated with “reaching up” to touch a desktop monitor.

You can bet that Apple is paying very close attention to this technology, and I’d be floored if Apple didn’t have something similar in its labs.

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