Leap Motion Gets $30M Raise; Does Asus Partnership
January 3, 2013 by Dave Haynes
The ASUS deal will result in the Leap controller – which is roughly the size of a cigarette lighter – bundled with select ASUS computers that will start shipping this year.
The Leap works something like Xbox Kinect, but is meant for close-up gestures and capable of much finer controls. The company says it can track movements of both hands and all 10 fingers at 290 frames per second, and detect movements as small as .01 millimeters.
Leap Motion’s president and chief operating officer Andy Miller spoke with Venture Beat:
“We’re starting with all-in-ones and then moving to high-end laptops,” Miller said. “An all-in-one is just a great demonstration of our technology.”
Bundling the Leap with ASUS is just the beginning, Miller told me. The Leap adds physical gestures to the now-standard computer interface vocabulary of visuals, mice, keyboards, and touch, and “lots of other OEMs” are interested in the technology.
“Companies are interested in using Leap in laptops, tablets, robotic surgery … we’ve been contacted by thousands of places from fast-food places to fighter jet manufacturers to integrate this technology,” Miller said.
40,000 developers have expressed interested in building software that takes advantage of Leap’s gesture technology, and Leap Motion has already sent out 12,000 units to help developers build and test their code. Apps that are being built for Leap include games, productivity apps, music and art apps, and more, Miller said.
Leap Motion is also building an app store so that developers can monetize their Leap-compatible apps. The app store will be available for both Windows 8 and Mac OS X.
The Leap unit is available for pre-order right now at $70. No word on how it will be priced with the Asus PCs.
I’m not convinced these things will be used as replacements for gaming controllers and other peripherals, like touch pads and mice. Simply put, your arms get tired.
However, these units are interesting as heck in the context of some digital signage challenges. Preset is working with one of the BIG automakers on a dealership program and one of the things they’d like to address is marketing to potential buyers on days when the doors are closed. You could do something interactive on dealership windows with touch foil, but it’s expensive, fussy and doesn’t look all that good.
With the Leap, you could get a bright panel inside a window and do touch-free interaction from the sidewalk (I think, unless the glass affects the technology in some way).
If you can do touch, without an overlay, that’s pretty interesting in a whole bunch of retail and public applications.