Feb. 27, 2013 at 1:12 PM ET
Did watching "Minority Report" make you fall in love with the idea of interacting with a computer by waving your hands around? Once a small gadget starts shipping on May 13, can do just that. You'll be able to control your Windows or Mac computer by wiggling your fingers, fidgeting with a pen, or otherwise moving your hands around.
The little gadget is called the Leap Motion Controller. Similar to existing 3-D motion-tracking systems — such as Xbox Kinect, for example — it captures your movements. The Leap's just significantly more precise, tracking the movements of both hands (and all ten fingers) at up to 290 frames per second. (The device's makers claim that it is even up to 200 times more sensitive than any existing motion-control technologies.) The fact thatit's only about 3 inches long doesn't exactly hurt its sales pitch either. It'll barely take up any space on your desk.
The Leap Motion Controller will support interactions across Windows 7, Windows 8, OS X 10.7 and 10.8. There will also be a variety of apps specifically designed with the Leap Motion Controller in mind. They will live in an app store Leap will operate, called Airspace. Some of the apps already expected include plug-ins for 3-D design software by Autodesk, Corel's Painter apps, various Disney games, "Cut the Rope" and more.
"I believe the Leap is the future of how people will interact with their devices,” Bill Warner, founder of Avid Technology and one of Leap Motion's investors, said in a press release when the company first announced its plans.
“What's previously been an expensive special effect in movies is now an affordable everyday reality, in full 3-D. With [the Leap Motion Controller], you use both hands and all 10 fingers to work within your computer's virtual environment just as easily as you do in the real world.”
Those who pre-order the Leap Motion Controller through either the Leap Motion website or the Best Buy website will see it ship on May 13. On May 19, the device will hit Best Buy stores. And despite all the promise of this little gadget, it will only set you back $80.
Want more tech news or interesting links? You'll get plenty of both if you keep up with Rosa Golijan, the writer of this post, by following her on Twitter, subscribing to her Facebook posts, or circling her on Google+.