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Leap Motion technology to come embedded in HP devices

April 17, 2013|By Andrea Chang
  • The tiny Leap Motion sensor, which goes on sale in May, enables users to interact with their computers using intuitive gestures.
The tiny Leap Motion sensor, which goes on sale in May, enables users to interact… (Leap Motion )

Leap Motion is partnering with Hewlett-Packard, announcing that its Leap Motion Controller will be bundled with select HP personal computers and that its 3D motion-sensing technology will be embedded in some of the company's devices.

The company said the PCs bundled with Leap controllers would be available this summer. It declined to specify which products would be embedded with Leap's technology and when they would be available.

"Our focus at Leap Motion is to fundamentally improve how people interact with their devices, and offer as many ways as possible to achieve that vision," Leap Motion co-founder and chief executive Michael Buckwald said in a statement. "The possibilities for innovation are incredible, when you think about what will come from this collaboration."

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Ron Coughlin, senior vice president and general manager of consumer PCs at HP, said the combination of Leap and HP would create "incredible user experiences."

"Customers want to go to the next level when creating and interacting with digital content," Coughlin said. 

San Francisco-based Leap Motion, the star (along with Grumpy Cat) of last month's SXSW Interactive festival in Austin, Texas, has been building major buzz with its tiny touch-free gesture-control sensor.

Leap Motion's technology, invented by co-founder David Holz, can track the movement of both hands and all 10 fingers with up to 1/100th-millimeter accuracy and no visible latency. Leap Motion enables anyone to use natural movements to interact with their computer, browse the Web or use motion-control applications found in Airspace.

Unlike other motion-sensing devices that require users to learn special sign language-like gestures, the Leap Motion device understands movements that come naturally: If you want to zoom in on something on the screen, simply move your hand closer to it; to zoom out, draw your hand back toward your body. Spinning your hand in the air rotates an object on the screen.

Using the device, consumers can play popular smartphone games such as "Fruit Ninja" and "Cut the Rope" and create colorful digital paintings by simply swiping the air in front of their screens. Pieces of digital clay can be molded by making squeezing and poking motions.

Leap Motion-enabled HP devices will come pre-loaded with Airspace, Leap Motion's application store. Inside Airspace, users will discover a wide range of software across gaming, music, education and art.

As a standalone product, the Leap Motion controller ships May 13 for customers who pre-ordered; it goes on sale May 19 at Best Buy stores for $79.99. Hundreds of thousands of people have placed pre-orders, Buckwald said, and Leap has sent developer units to 12,000 of the 50,000 developers who applied for one.

During an interview with The Times at SXSW, Buckwald hinted that Leap Motion would like to embed its technology directly into laptops. He also said he'd like to see Leap in tablets, industrial robots and other form factors.

The HP deal has been in development for more than a year, Leap Motion said.

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