We in the embedded vision industry live in amazing times, I'm regularly (and thankfully) reminded. Not a single day goes by lately that I'm not archiving an information tidbit (or, usually, multiple ones) for future consideration in a news writeup, an article, or a video interview. And the breakthroughs aren't just being covered by narrowly focused sites; they're now also getting picked up by leading technology blogs and other media outlets.
Take a San Francisco startup called Leap Motion, for example. As first picked up by CNET (click on the link to see another demonstration video) 10 days ago, the company has developed a prototype USB-based gesture interface sensing peripheral, compellingly shown in the above video, which it hopes to have in production late this year or early next year for a price of around $70. According to Michael Buckwald, Leap Motion's CEO, the product is 200 times more accurate than anything currently available on the market (although the FAQ contradictorily states in different places both that it's "it’s 200x more sensitive than existing touch-free products and technologies" and that "The Leap is ~100x more accurate than any other motion sensing/natural user interface on Earth"), with accuracy up to around 1/100th of a millimeter, impressively low latency, and the ability to track individual finger tips, an entire hand, and inanimate objects.
The company is tight-lipped about how the device implements depth discernment, although the combination of image sensor and infrared transmitter technologies is reportedly key to the design. A time-of-flight algorithm is one possibility, although the device's small size would make such an implementation a notable achievement. The 3-D gesture interface interaction space supported by the device is approximately 8 cubic feet in size. Leap Motion earlier this month received $12.75 million in Series A funding, led by Highland Capital Partners. The company is hoping to create a vibrant third-party software ecosystem for its hardware, and is currently accepting developer applications. The company also granted Engadget a hands-on evaluation, along with letting Wired do some testing, captured in the videos below:
For more information, check out the following additional product coverage:
- Check out the LEAP: control your Mac with gestures for only $69 (9to5 Mac)
- Leap Motion promises Kinect-beating 3D tracking (Ars Technica)
- Leap promises a pocketable, compact 3D user interface (Betanews)
- This Tiny USB Dongle For Your Mac Makes The Kinect Look Like A Drunk, Stumbling Uncle (The Cult of Mac)
- Leap Motion reveals super-accurate motion control tech, $70 device to change the UI game (Engadget)
- The Leap: Gesture control like Kinect, but cheaper and much higher resolution (Extremetech)
- Is This the Best Gesture Control System Ever? (Gizmodo)
- Leap Pushing the Interaction Market Forward, Launching Later This Year (Pando Daily)
- The Leap: Gesture Control Like Kinect, But Cheaper and Higher Resolution (Slashdot)
- Leap suggests future of gesture-based computing (The Ultimate Apple Weblog)
- Not magic, motion control: The Leap controls your computer with a flick of a finger (VentureBeat)
- Leap 3D motion control system is 100 times more accurate than Kinect, will cost $69.99 (The Verge)
- Gesture Controls Get a Huge Boost with New 'Leap' Interaction System (Wired)
See, I told you embedded vision was getting extensive coverage nowadays!