Earlier this week at the GMIC Beijing, TechNode managed to catch up with CEO of Leap Motion, Michael Buckwald, for a chat about the Leap Motion Controller and the company’s future plans.
The Leap Motion Controller, launched in July 2013, allows you to interact with your PC via motion detection of your hands and fingers – somewhat similar to the Kinect, but for your computer. Currently, Leap Motion claims that they are the only company in the world with the technology to track hand and finger motions, with accuracy up to 1/100th of a millimeter.
According to Buckwald, 50 percent of the sales for the Leap Motion Controller is outside of the US, with China being one of the top 5 countries when it comes to sales of the controller. While Chinese customers are able to purchase the device off its website, the Leap Motion Controller is currently not yet in retail in China, although Buckwald has stated that Leap Motion is looking for Chinese distributors, such as JD.com, to sell the device in China.
Buckwald also stated that Leap Motion will hire local developers and agencies to localize apps in its Airspace app store for the Chinese market eventually. Currently, there are already individual Chinese developers who are using the Leap APIs and SDKs to develop applications.
When the Leap Motion controller and technology were first announced, there was a lot of hype since it opened up a wealth of possibilities and new ways to interact with the computer, but initial reviews of the product by excited users suggested that while the controller has much potential, there is still much that needs to be improved on for the device to live up to its hype.
Buckwald stresses that the Leap Motion Controller is not a device that aims to replace the traditional mouse – instead the controller should allow users to do things that they could not do before on a computer, such as sculpt an object out of virtual clay, or learn to play the piano.
Leap Motion has also been working hard on pushing free software updates to complement and improve on the controller, allowing users to do more with it.
“A big update we’re working on now is version two of our tracking and the SDK. Basically version one could track fingers that it could see accurately, but if I cross my fingers or intertwine them it couldn’t track them,” says Buckwald. “Version two has enough information that it could track the hands in any permutation. That would make it much easier for developers to build applications.”