Leap Motion Overwhelmed By Developer Response

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It seems like we can expect amazing things from the Leap when it launches next year. Leap Motion reports that it has been flooded with requests for developer units, and an impressive assortment of unique and innovative applications for the motion-sensing device.

A few months ago Leap Motion revealed the Leap--a device that lets you interact with a computer using motion and hand gestures. It is similar in function to the Microsoft Kinect, but the precision claimed by Leap Motion makes the Kinect seem like trying to tie your shoes while wearing oven mitts.

This device the size of a USB thumb drive seems capable of amazing things.
Leap Motion has received more than 26,000 requests from developers interested in working with the Leap. Leap Motion reports that in the first seven days following the unveiling of the device, it received developer requests at a rate of just under 100 per hour—resulting in 15,000 developer applications in the first week alone. More than 1,500 applications have come from researchers and students at colleges and universities, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University.

At this point, there are developers from 140 countries, and all 50 states in the US lined up, and anxiously anticipating an opportunity to work with a Leap developer unit. Only a fraction of those developers will actually be invited to participate, though. Leap Motion doesn’t cite an exact figure, but states that “thousands” of developer units will be shipped in the coming months in preparation for an early 2013 launch of the Leap device.

The proposed apps span a wide range of innovative purposes. Music and video, art and design, science and medicine, robotics, Web, social networking, and education all rank among the concepts proposed to Leap Motion so far.

Developers who are selected to participate in the pre-release development cycle will have access to a full-time, dedicated team at Leap Motion, an online community and forums to compare notes with other developers, and hackathons and meet-ups to foster the creative energy. Leap Motion also hints at creating an app store to promote and distribute the apps created for the Leap.

Leap Motion CEO and co-founder Michael Buckwald, declared, “We’ve already seen developers propose exciting applications for the Leap that we hadn’t even imagined, and look forward to even more. We can’t wait for Leap users to experience the applications when the product ships in early 2013.”

The video certainly makes it look compelling, and I’ve already pre-ordered mine. I do take concept videos and pre-release vaporware with a proverbial “grain of salt”, though. Many never actually materialize. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the Leap can live up to its hype if and when it arrives.

Leap Motion is still encouraging developers with innovative ideas for the Leap to apply for a developer unit. Consumers can pre-order the device for $70 (plus shipping and handling) from the Leap site. It is projected to ship in early 2013.

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