Is LeapMotion the future of Gesture Recognition?

Contributed by Raman on 12 Sep 2013

LeapMotion … Things you can do with it.

Looking at the videos on the Leapmotion website, you would wonder if this is the next Kinect killer. Oh yeah, priced at about $80, the videos do make you think,”wow! I want that.”

We, at Neev, with a growing Augmented Reality and Gesture Recognition team, had committed to try our hands at LeapMotion long before it was launched and had pre-ordered it. So when it got delivered, the team just dived deep into exploring what could be done with it.

Setting up of the device was a breeze and we had AirSpace up and running in no time. Running the sample apps made us feel that the device was surreal, magical. The device could detect all fingers, wrist and their movements. People flocked around the systems where we had installed it. We, in fact, even ‘demo’ed it as a futuristic device during one of the cultural events at Neev.

But, the honeymoon period ended there. We realized that LeapMotion was definitely not the Kinect killer. There were limitations. The range isn’t great. It could detect motion only within a range of about 6 inches to 2 feet from the device. And again, your hands need to be placed in air as if you were playing a piano, for the device to detect all fingers. This limits what you can do with the device.

So the question is: what kind of apps can we create with Leap Motion? 

The answer is simple.

Any app where you can hold your hands in the air as if you are playing a piano within a distance of 2 ft from the device.

Not too many apps, you may think. At first, it may seem like that. But there are apps which would work brilliantly with Leap Motion, like the Puppet app that Neev is currently developing using Animata and LeapMotion. That is going to be one fun game. We have also thought of a DJ app.

One other use of LeapMotion is with apps where you need to point a stick in the air, like maybe conducting an opera.

One radical way of using LeapMotion is to connect multiple such devices (still costs less than Kinect) facing each other. This setup would then detect hand motion in 3D space. The possibilities are unlimited. At Neev, we are exploring most of them.

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