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Leap Motion Wants to Make Gesture Controls More Awesome

A startup wants to combine the best elements of multitouch controls with the Kinect's gesture controls.

The Kinect brought on a whole new kind of gesture controls, and the iPhone helped bring multitouch controls to the masses. Each is great at what they do, but there are drawbacks; with a touchscreen you have draw your finger across a relatively small surface, and most motion sensing technologies are still only accurate enough to detect your hand as a single entity.

Leap Motion, a startup out of San Francisco, wants to meld the two ideas together without any compromises. The company just announced its new 3D motion-control contraption, called The Leap, that it claims is accurate enough to detect touch-control gestures like pinch-to-zoom or capture your single-finger whipping action in a game of Fruit Ninja (take that, Kinect whole-hand sensing!).

CNET reports that the Leap Touch's contraption is small iPodsized USB add-on. The Leap creates a 3D interaction space measuring four cubic feet in size that can track the motion of your hands down to your individual fingers.

The Leap, according to Leap Motion, is accurate enough to track your movements to a hundredth of a millimeter, which is 200 times more accurate than anything else on the market. The company hasn't said much on how the technology works, except that it uses breakthrough technology and motion control software that's been in the works for the past four years.

Leap Motion is currently sending out development kits and SDKs for Windows 7 and 8, as well as for Mac OS X (Linux support is on the agenda for future release). Leap Motion envisions that its 3D motion-sensing technology will be ideal for surgical and engineering software, as well as for gaming. The Leap will cost $70 initially, and is up for limited pre-orders now; Leap Motion plans to launch the gadget early next year.

And be sure to check out CNET for an interview with Leap Motion CEO Michael Buckwald.

[Leap Motion via CNET]

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