Leap Motion update adds precision hand tracking, gesture controls

A huge update for the Leap Motion Controller, which recently launched in Australia, will significantly change the way it interacts with users' hands.

(Credit: Leap Motion)

The Leap Motion, a matchbox-sized USB peripheral that contains an array of motion- and distance-measuring sensors, launched in July in the US but was only released last month in Australia in an exclusive partnership with Dick Smith.

The update, which has been in the works for over a year, is the first large update for the controller. It will allow the Leap Motion to track movements and objects far more precisely and will be able to recognise a human hand as an individual object, allowing for gestures like pinching, crossing fingers and moving two hands around each other. The update will initially be released to Leap Motion's 85,000 developers in a few weeks, and it will roll out to Leap Motion customers in coming months.

"The way our tracking works now is what you see is what you get," CTO David Holz told CNET. The next version of the software, he said, "takes the incredible tracking in our current generation of Leap and takes it the next level by being able to track things even when the device can't see them".

"This makes it easier for developers to build even better physical experiences. It's about bringing everything closer to that original vision: how to bring the incredible power of hands and fingers to computers and make that interface disappear into the background."

(Credit: Leap Motion)

Alongside the performance improvement update, Leap Motion will release a free "creation" tool called Free Form, letting users adjust and distort geometric shapes, like moving a spinning pottery wheel and interacting with clay. Free Form will be one new app in the Airspace app store for Leap Motion devices, which currently has 139 apps and is on target to expand to 150 by the start of next year.

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