Microsoft and Apple are racing to implement the next UI breakthru – 3D gestures. These are are already of course available in various implementations of Nintendo Wii and Microsoft’s Kinect. Microsoft’s announcement today of its intentions to miniaturize its Kinect hardware for laptops. It comes at a strange jumcture in time – no big announcements from major client OS rivals Apple and Google. Which leads this observer to expect a major announcement from Apple since Google R+D seems pre-occupied with Glass which is a real hybrid with eyemovements and hand gestures part of their piece – but hardware prices currently prohibitive for a consumer marketplace.
Now a year ago, the Leap Motion 3D device was considered the next big thing – and there is considerable Apple funding and executive outreach. And since Windows 8 can do touch screen operations very well where Mac/OS users have no such luck there is a need and opening.
But CNET is saying that the Leap Motion 3D gesture controller will go on sale May 19th for $80 and will link up to PCs via USB Here is a demo:
This observer has some real problems with Leap Motion gestures ability to point precisely. This also can be seen in the video below:
It appears precise pointing which is the bane of many Windows 8 touch screen pointers is also true of and even more so for Leap Motion’s gestures. Although lLeap Motion claimsprecision to within 0.1mm – holding that in 3D space maybe very problematic.. So I fully expect Leap Motion to do very well in the gaming and drawing arenas where precise placement may have more leeway; but not so well in AutoCad or Spreadsheet work until the ability to precisely point with the Leap Motion controller is worked out.
In sum, there is still room for Microsoft and Apple to do their 3D UI thing – but the Window may be closing fast or turning in a new direction. But for now, hold onto your mice.