Remember the scenes in Iron Man and Iron Man 2 where Tony Stark is able to project computerized images and data in mid-air – and then manipulate them with his hands?
That technology is now a hell of a lot closer to reality.
No, we don’t yet have a perfect way to project 3D images in mid-air without a screen, but what we do have is a new way to control computers – with our hands.
The technology that enables this is called the Leap, and it’s going to change the way we interact with computers. Mice and keyboards have been around for dozens of years, and they’re woefully obsolete. Even touch technology looks old-school compared to Leap. Just take a look…
Oops, I guess that was a scene from a movie. Here’s the real video:
Yeah, it’s pretty amazing.
In fact, I’d say that Leap might even be better than the imaginary technology from Johnny Mneumonic, because you don’t need to wear anything to use it.
All you need are your hands. Or a pencil. Or a paintbrush. Or whatever you’d work with in real life.
The Leap is a simple box about the size of a flash drive, and it just sits on your desk near your monitor. It projects a “box” 8 cubic feet around itself, which you can use as a work space. When you make gestures inside this box, the Leap can track them.
This isn’t Wii or Kinect-level technology here – it’s much better. According the Leap website, the technology is 200 times more accurate than anything else on the market right now, and can track movements as small as 1/100th of a millimeter.
What’s awesome is that this technology isn’t going to be prohibitively expensive. Nope. You can pre-order a Leap of your own for just $70. Seventy bones to revolutionize the way you interact with your computer.
And the best part? There’s an SDK for developers coming, which means that we might soon have a plethora of applications to use that are specifically built to work best with the Leap.
Imagine modeling 3D images in Blender just by molding them like clay. Or building a website just by using your finger to draw the sections of each page. Or playing a shooter and just pointing your finger at your enemies to take them out.
Call-Out: Comment with your best idea for an application based on Leap.
The Leap has a lot of potential, and I truly believe it is a huge step towards the Iron Man-esque 3D computing we all want to see. All someone has to do is perfect the projection and combine the two.
So, computer/electrical engineers out there – is that person gonna be you?
Props go to my friend Zach Westpfahl for pointing this awesome technology out to me!