A new controller is even more sensitive than the Microsoft Kinect.
Since the 2010 launch of Microsoft’s Kinect, which turns the user’s hand into a controller, companies in high tech and beyond have been working to leverage the potential of motion-sensing technology. The latest development in this space is Leap Motion’s Controller, a small USB device that came on the market last month. The $80 gadget, which is 200 times as sensitive as an Xbox 360 Kinect Leap, lets users control a computer with hand gestures. Leap also launched an app store, AirSpace, that features apps from brands including The New York Times (readers control the content with their hands) and Disney (a game, Sugar Rush, based on Wreck-it Ralph).
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Mobile brands are now starting to incorporate the technology. Samsung’s new Galaxy S4 features Air Gesture, allowing users to control the phone without touching it, and Motorola’s Moto X includes some gesture commands; some reports say Apple’s upcoming iOS 7 will include gesture-sensing abilities. We’ll also see the technology built into cars: Automakers including Hyundai have unveiled experimental systems that let drivers perform basic functions with hand gestures.
While retailers (including Parisian luxury shoe brand Repetto and Starbucks) have been incorporating gesture recognition into high-tech windows for a few years, these displays are getting ever more sophisticated. Earlier this year, the windows of Selfridges in London promoted Nike with a series of innovative Kinect-powered installations—pointing to a future where gesture-based tech enables marketers to create more personalized and interactive experiences with passersby.
Such innovations are part of a trend toward more human-centered design: Tech devices will increasingly strip away the need for a mouse or a finger touch/button press, becoming more intuitive to control.