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TSA Talks Console Gaming With Leap Motion

Gaming is "definitely" a serious market.

After the wildly impressive reveal video everyone went crazy for Leap – the video’s had three million views in a matter of three or four days. Despite the team being incredibly busy right now, I managed to pin down Leap Motion’s CEO Michael Buckwald for a quick chat about the device, and what it means for gaming.

TSA: So, where on earth did all this this come from?

Michael Buckwald: The Leap device is the culmination of several years of research, and significant mathematical breakthroughs by our co-founder and CTO, David Holz, a former NASA consultant.

TSA: It must have been great to see the sudden rush of media interest.

MB: Yes, we’re excited to finally be talking publicly about this technology we’ve spent so much time creating!

Leap is incredibly accurate, even at high speed. It seems like FPS's might be a key target.
TSA: What was the initial application for this that you had in mind?

MB: Leap was initially inspired by the desire to model virtual clay as easily as you can shape an actual piece of clay. Molding clay is intuitive, but there was a barrier in the information exchange between a person and their computer – namely the limits of the mouse and keyboard – that made 3-D modeling a complex, technical task.

TSA: So this basically getting around those limitations?

MB: Yes, Leap is the outcome of several years of research devoted to removing that barrier so people can interact with their computers in a natural, intuitive way.

TSA: So where do you envisage the tech beyond 3-D modelling?

MB: Basic computing tasks like navigating an operating system or digitally signing a document, and complex professional uses, such as medical imaging that a surgeon can navigate without taking off his or her gloves.

TSA: The video showed games being controlled with the Leap – is gaming a serious market for the device?

MB: Yes, definitely. While Leap has broad applications across personal and professional computing, we’re excited about the implications for gaming.

TSA: So how you do think it stacks up against Move and Kinect?

MB: Our approach is fundamentally different than that of technologies like Move and Kinect. From the start, we’ve been intent on developing motion control that is sensitive enough to control computers with natural hand and finger movements.

As a result of our completely different approach, and the mathematical breakthroughs that enable our technology, Leap is 200 times more accurate than existing technology, and works for the tasks that make up the vast majority of our interactions with a computer – those that take place in a close range, using hands and fingers.

TSA: Close range? Can the box be placed anywhere?

MB: The Leap hardware is connected by a USB cable, and sits on your desk. There is a simple, one-step calibration process.

Fruit Ninja might seem like an obvious choice, but Leap is hardly limited.
TSA: What are your thoughts on the current motion controlled games?

MB: Existing motion control for games has focused on large, full-body movements, which is great for certain types of games, but Leap is the first motion-control technology sensitive enough to handle games like first-person shooters that require fast reflexes.

TSA: Do you have any plans to scale up so that it could track full-body movements?

MB: Right now, we’re focused on bringing motion control to the desktop, and giving people unprecedented ability to control their computers with natural hand and finger movements.

TSA: Finally, then, would you consider licensing the tech to the console manufacturers?

MB: The Leap technology is versatile enough to be embedded in a broad range of technology—anything from a smartphone to a refrigerator—and gaming consoles could certainly be a possibility in the future.

We thank Michael for his time, and wish him and the rest of the company all the best as they enter a market that’s apparently hugely interested in what they’ve come up with. As a core gamer you may not see huge potential yet in this, but it’s an open system, and I’m sure amazing things will come of this very soon.

You can read more about Leap here.

  1. Gamoc
    Since: Forever

    From what they say, it needs to be close to the monitor.

    That is not severely limiting.

    Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 22:47.
    • Gamoc
      Since: Forever

      …I don’t know where ‘not’ came from, but it’s not supposed to be there.

      Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 22:48.
    • nofi
      One for all.
      Since: Forever

      They don’t say that at all. They said “on your desk”. Why would it be at the other side of the room when you’re trying to move a finger to control a pointer? The scaling just wouldn’t work – even the tiniest movement of your finger would be massive at any distance.

      Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 22:55.
  2. Burgess_101
    Since: May 2009

    Looks interesting. I am sceptical with its use in gaming though, every new control scheme companies try to introduce just seems like a gimmick. I have no doubt though in other uses this piece of kit will be top notch.

    Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 22:52.
  3. stage1
    Since: Feb 2012

    Hope TSA do a review when it’s released!

    Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 23:22.
  4. Fade into Dream
    Since: May 2012

    Tech certainly looks impressive. Thanks for the interview.

    Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 23:36.
  5. gazzagb
    Master of speling mitakse
    Since: Feb 2009

    The price will be the main thing here I reckon, and enough applications +games to support it and make it not just a gimmick.

    Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 23:58.
  6. An-dz
    Since: Oct 2010

    In 10 years every computer will have one of these kind of things built into them. 10 years after that we control computers just by thinking?

    Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 23:59.
    • KeRaSh
      Since: Nov 2009

      Or… computers control us… >_>

      Comment posted on 25/05/2012 at 07:09.
      • MadJunkBoy
        Since: Aug 2010

        !! terminator in real life !!
        but don’t worry about the terminator, Burgess´s dad will come and save us… where he goes to the past to save the future that is actually the past in the future! :P

        Comment posted on 25/05/2012 at 07:38.
  7. TSBonyman
    Since: Dec 2009

    Really impressive bit of tech and nice to get some background info.

    Comment posted on 25/05/2012 at 02:40.
  8. ron_mcphatty
    Since: Sep 2008

    Leap looks amazing, good work on the interview! I wonder if they could build it into the top of a controller.

    Comment posted on 25/05/2012 at 07:04.
  9. MadJunkBoy
    Since: Aug 2010

    this looks lovely… and really nice to see a video of it!
    can’t wait to see more!

    Comment posted on 25/05/2012 at 07:30.
  10. Deathbrin
    Since: Aug 2009

    So what’s basically a boring tool for creating games is going to be sold as a fun way to play them?

    Comment posted on 25/05/2012 at 07:58.
    • bunimomike
      Since: Jul 2009

      Only in the same way the mouse was invented to navigate a windows-based environment but has gone on to aid us to play the likes of Diablo 3, Half Life 1&2, Crysis, etc. You, sir, need to wake on the correct side of the bed. ;-)

      Comment posted on 25/05/2012 at 12:15.

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