New Portable Device for Accurate Hand and Finger Tracking

If The Leap hand-tracking device lives up to the claims of its makers, this little rectangular block will follow individual finger movements, distinguish thumbs from fingers and identify hand-held objects such as pencils -- all with sub-millimetre precision.

Similar to the Microsoft Kinect, but reportedly much more accurate, The Leap offers the capacity to control not only games, but also 3D modelling, medical, art or engineering applications, using natural hand gestures. With the driver software installed and the device plugged in, it can be placed so as to define an interaction space of 8 cubic metres in front of the computer screen.

Users can define their own custom gestures, and for programmers there’s a free SDK (software development kit) enabling development of new uses for the technology. (It says on the website that qualified developers who register receive a free Leap device with the SDK.)

The company is currently working with industry partners in a drive to embed the technology in tablets, smart phones, laptops and game systems.

It's difficult to tell from a video just how useable and useful a gadget this is, so any readers who have used The Leap, or know something about the underlying technology (the website says nothing), or can compare this device with Microsoft's Kinect 2 motion sensor, please contact us.

More information at www.leapmotion.com.

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