It’s the culture of digital agencies and technology-fluent consumers to turn into hype-beasts at the sight of a new techie toy. These transformations can turn even more rampant when the contrast of its pint-size meets the reality of its powerhouse potential. When it comes to the Leap Motion, the potential was there to alter our interactive landscape. Who’d have thought that something the size of a pack of gum would read our hands to let us manipulate all things digital? Like molding anything on a screen using your bare hands. Yep. Our expectations for Untold Labs this month were outrageous, because we wished the Leap promised as much.
As we evolve our Labs branch, where we play and experiment with emerging technologies, we spend time every month fiddling with technology to come up with ideas. The next month is spent bringing our ideas to life. In April, it was Leap’s turn.
Michael Chatten, our Director of Emerging Technology, dissected that the Leap was made of an infrared cam. It picks up fingers, hands and pointers — like a chopstick — in three dimensions with accurate speed and direction. An added value are the gestures the Leap can track, including circles that most touch-sensitive devices haven’t introduced. Two teams were tasks to come up with a “big idea” to use the Leap in an original way for an audience, investment and goal that made sense.
So we thought: what can the Leap do that you can’t with a keyboard and mouse? What gives the Leap Motion it’s inherent value? What can we do that goes beyond enabling technology to being, truly, an idea that’s only possible with Leap. Our ideas and debates ranged:
Well, you’re not really touching anything. Maybe its for an audience that doesn’t want to touch stuff.
We’ve seen games before. How do we go beyond the X and Y planes? Let’s look into the Z. Make something truly 3D.
Cone. Remember, the Leap reads an area above the device the shape of a cone.
Gestures? Well, someone else already made a sign language to text converter. What a great idea.
Our two teams landed on two different ideas. Next month one team will pursue and create an interface driven by the Leap Motion for anyone with dirty hands. Think doctors in surgery or mechanics at the garage. People to whom keyboards and mice are a huge inconvenience. The Leap can solve that.
Our other execution is creative and fun. We’ll educate people on how to use the new Leap Motion with a game. A Pictionary-type game using the Leap’s capability to pick up the slightest movements in real-time.
But when it comes other applications, the Leap can be limited. For movements, we’d use the Kinect. For interfaces, we have touch screens and mice. Next month is when the Leap will wow us or deflate our hype.