Geo Week News

February 27, 2013

Leap device to have Autodesk plug-in out of the gate


First units will ship May 13, for sale at retail May 19 for $80

SAN FRANCISCO – Leap Motion, the company behind the Leap Motion Controller, said it will beginning shipping its device to pre-order customers on May 13 and that the device will be available exclusively at Best Buy stores starting May 19, for $80. The Leap Controller is pitched as being capable of tracking movement to 10 microns at 290 frames per second in 3D space. Back in January, the company announced it had gathered $30 million in funding to fuel its launch.

Perhaps most interesting for the professional space is that the Controller will ship with access to an online app store called Airspace, where Leap says there will be a plug-in available out of the gate for use with Autodesk 3D design tools.

The Leap Motion Controller will support operating system interactions with Windows 7 and 8, and Mac OS X 10.7 and 10.8.

Leap Motion has refused an interview with SPAR, citing time constraints, even after being offered as much time as they need to answer questions via email, but you can see in this video done with C|NET the sort of active point cloud the device is capable of creating:


It’s unclear whether the Autodesk plug-in will actually allow for some import of point cloud data or whether it will simply allow gesture control of 3D designs. Even if the latter, it’s clear there could be a benefit for those working with 3D data who have shown interest in the past in things like the 3D mouse and haptic interfaces.

The company already also has an active developer community, which has been working with the Controller for the past year so that Airspace is populated with the consumer launch of the device.

Early apps will include a variety of games and things like a Weather Channel app.

You can see an example of a gesture-controlled digital musical instrument here:


Those looking for a first peek into the Leap experience can try some of the apps out at the music and technology conference SXSW, to be held in Austin, Texas, March 9 through 11. The company will be set up in the Old Iron Works BBQ parking lot from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Leap Motion co-founders Michael Buckwald, CEO, and David Holz, CTO, will present a featured session called “Leap Motion & the Disappearing Interface” on March 9 at the Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 5.


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