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A 'Leap' forward in gesture-control interfaces?

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A company is introducing a motion controller it says is 200 times more precise than current models
  • The Leap is a simple motion controller that you can plug into any USB port on your computer
  • Its camera can discern all 10 of your fingers individually

(CNN) -- You know that bit in "The Avengers" where Tony Stark spreads his fingers apart in mid-air and the stuff on the screen in front of him instantly appears on displays throughout the room?

A company called Leap Motion wants to make that kind of gesture control a reality, and it hopes to take the first step with a new type of motion controller.

The Leap is a simple motion controller that you can plug into any USB port on your computer. Once it's plugged in and you've installed the Leap software, it turns the 8-cubic feet of air in front of it into "3D interaction space" — basically, it'll track any and all motion within that space, letting you use your hands to do whatever you could do with a mouse.

How is that different from Microsoft Kinect? Precision — the company claims the Leap is 200 times more sensitive than current gesture-based tech, able to track movements down to a hundredth of a millimeter. Users will be able to fine-tune the sensitivity, Leap says.

The camera, which is about the size of a business-card holder, can discern all 10 of your fingers individually, and even tell your thumbs apart. Such detailed scanning lets you perform actions like pinch-to-zoom, or zero in on fine details in a drawing app (check out the video below for more applications).

It all sounds a little too good to be true — especially for a device that costs a mere $69.99. The company even acknowledges how far-fetched it sounds on its web page. Leap's goals are anything but humble: The device is all about "changing the world" by making interaction with computers more natural and intuitive.

Can't wait to try it out? You're going to have to wait — the controller doesn't go on sale until the winter, but you can pre-order one now. The company is also accepting requests for developer kits, which should be available in the next few months.

How do you like the Leap? If it holds up to its promises, would you use it? What for? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Read the original story on Mashable.

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