This Christmas, I got a bunch of gift cards to one of the big box electronic stores. I love them because it allows me to buy things that I might not normally buy. Not because I don’t want them, but because I can’t always justify spending my own money on them. One of those purchases was a new Apple Magic Trackpad. Do I need one? No, not really. I have a Wacom Tablet, with its mouse and pen, that works perfectly fine. Did I want one? Absolutely, but not for the reasons that you might expect. I got the trackpad for practice. I want to practice using gestures to access items on my trusty old iMac, because 2013 is a Leap Year. Leap Motion, that is.
When Sci-Fi becomes Reality
Whether it be watching Tom Cruise manipulate data on a VR screen in Minority Report or watching Robert Downey Jr. play with his Stark Tech VR computing in Ironman, we have dreamed of using only our hands to access our computers. Microsoft is playing with using sound to create its own world of “SoundWave” manipulation, but it is Leap Motion that truly making the…well…leap into the field.
When I first stumbled upon the tech early last year, they were well on their way to getting their production funding in place. I must have watched the demonstration video a dozen times, fascinated by the fact that sci-fi had seemingly become reality. The news today that the first units from pre-order are scheduled to start rolling out later this month makes this year one of the most significant in computing technology since the release of the MacIntosh GUI in 1984. This is not Kinetic motion sensors that free you up from using a game controller to access your Xbox 360. This is a flash drive size device that allows to connect to your Mac or PC and begin manipulating the 3D model on your screen, with your hands!
Possibilities Limited only by Imagination
Some will say that this technology will not replace the mouse or the trackpad and only the hardcore users will ever be making it their main input device. For me, that is small thinking. With a sensor filed that is accurate to 1/100th of a millimeter, imagine the world it opens up for people that cannot use a mouse. Sure, gamers will love the tech as developers build for this new input device, but imagine the world it opens up for an autistic child that cannot manage a mouse. With advances in screen technology, can we be far away from the total replacement of a chalkboard classroom to where the teacher stands in front of an OLED wall and manipulates digital images and models with a simple gesture? Imagine going through a diagnosis with your doctor where you can gesture and focus on where it hurts on a digital model and he/she can then expand that area to pinpoint possible causes, without either of you having to pass a mouse or a trackpad back and forth. Heck, germaphobes should be lining up for this technology. Of course gamers will still have the most fun with this technology. After all, which of them hasn’t wanted to hold up their finger gun and actually knock off the bad guys? Pew! Pew!
What other uses could you see for this technology? Please leave a comment below!