The other week, Alight Design Agency took a well deserved break from our hard work and gathered round the flat screen to watch a demo of the Leap Motion user interface device. Needless to say we were all buzzing with excitement and tugging at our Directors trouser leg like kids, asking when we could all have one. Still excited by this piece of kit, we thought we’d share a little about Leap Motion and some other great innovations in User Interface, that we like!
No bigger than a flash drive, the Leap device creates a 3D interaction space around your computer which allows you to control your computer with natural hand gestures. It’s not a games system (think broad sweeps at a distance). It’s infinitely more precise and has much more practical applications. Naturally, as a Design Agency, we’re excited about its potential application in the creative process, but other industries would equally benefit from this technology. As Leap point out engineers and surgeons are ideal users, but I’m already thinking mission impossible. Leap, boast it to be 200 times more accurate than anything else on the market. It can distinguish thumbs from fingers and even pencils. You can also create custom gestures dependent on how you want to interact with your computer, and at a cost of only $69.99 this sounds amazing! Please, Please can I have one?
Not quite as mind blowing as Leap Motion, but a great innovation all the same. Tactus has developed a solution to the lack of tactile response from touch screen devices. Granted vibration haptics are common place and have tried to provide that response but, essentially they just attempt to trick our senses. Tactus’ technology provides real buttons for the user to rest their fingers on and push. Application controlled physical buttons rise up from the touch-screen surface on demand and recede leaving a seamless flat touch screen. The advantages are clear when you look at the common gripes users have with touch screens; finding themselves typing slower, making errors, and the inability to hunt or "blind navigate". And the fact that the buttons rise up out of a flat touch screen sounds really cool. Definitely a winner!
Lastly a device that allows you to control your computer purely with your mind. Surely this is bigger than Leap’s technology? Well, It could be and at $299.00 that seems very reasonable. But, having watched the video on the E motive site, it feels like early days in terms of ease of use. Yes it’s a headset which allows you to control the computer with your brain waves and is easy to attach unlike the implant being developed to help those who’ve lost use of their limbs, project Braingate. But, E motive isn’t just a headset. It also involves software (the cognitive suite) which creates commands triggered by specific thoughts. I’m not sure just how much time this is going to take to build up a set of commands and how easily would I remember what triggers what. It just doesn’t seem as natural and fluid at this stage as Leap, but definitely one to keep your eye on.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our little dip into the future (one where I hope this Design Agency’s offices look a bit like Tron) and it’s made you want to find out some more about emerging tech or maybe just even part with some cash for a Leap Motion and start throwing some shapes.