The Leap, a tiny low cost device, that lets users control a PC using hand gestures is going to be bundled with Asus laptops and desktops.
The Leap Motion device offers many of the abilities of depth cameras such as the Kinect but it is small, cheap and supposedly very accurate at tracking individual fingers.
You can use it to create apps that take advantage of 3D gestures and despite the fact that its specifications seem almost too good to be true Leap Motion has already shipped the device to around 12,000 developers, and 40,000 developers have requested the software development kit.
Read our analysis of demos of the kit in use here.
Apps making use of the controller will be available for sale in Leap Motion’s app store. The latest news is that Asus is so taken with the device that it is going to build it into machines. The bundled PCs will be shipping in the first quarter of 2013, according to Leap, and the standalone controller will be shipping at the same time for $70.
The software pre-installed on the Asus machines will let users control Windows 8 by making gestures with their fingers and hands. The Leap provides an alternative to the mouse, trackpad and touch screen and if it works as well as in the demos it should revolutionize the way we use desktop and portable devices.
The Leap device is around three inches by one inch wide, and half an inch thick. Under the covers are two miniature cameras and several infrared LEDs that let the device track finger movements to a claimed accuracy on one hundredth of a millimeter. The exact details of how the hardware work are still under wraps.
The Asus deal makes it more likely that Leap devices will be seen as mainstream and therefore more likely to succeed. For programmers to treat it as a standard input device it needs to achieve an extraordinary degree of market take up.
Leap has also announced that it has raised $30 million more in venture capital from its existing investors, and that more deals like the Asus one will be announced soon. Potential developers can apply for early adopter devices at https://leapmotion.com/developers