Gesture-based controller Leap Motion is to be supported by Google, guaranteeing a future for the new device.
The first Google service to get the Leap Motion treatment is Google Earth, meaning that from next month, when the eagerly awaited controller finally ships, lucky owners will be able to plug it into their Mac, Windows or even Linux PC and take a virtual tour of the planet simply through moving their fingers.
The Leap Motion Controller is a small box, similar in size to a USB thumb drive, that attaches itself to a desktop or notebook PC via the USB port and, once connected, translates the user's hand movements into commands. The technology, which is so sensitive it can individually track and recognize the separate and collective movement or all ten fingers on both hands (as well as the hands themselves) simultaneously, has quite rightly impressed many.
However, there is still an issue regarding whether or not developers will support this particular gesture interface -- the device doesn't simply plug in and start working, it needs apps or at least specially adapted versions of existing software products. The Leap Motion app store, Airspace, is growing all the time -- the company claims to have hooked 10,000 developers -- and offers titles across productivity, creativity and leisure. And while the company has also announced a number of high-profile partnerships over the first four months of 2013, including with Asus and HP, Google is the big one and a stamp of approval that this device is not going to be a flash in the pan.
The Leap Motion Controller will retail for $79.99 when it officially launches in May and can be pre-ordered now, either directly from Leap Motion -- leapmotion.com/preorder/new -- or from Amazon.
Check out the Leap Motion Google Earth video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=RebX7YEn3GQ