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Leap Motion delays launch of 3-D gesture controller to July 22

April 25, 2013|By Andrea Chang
  • The release of the Leap Motion sensor, which enables users to interact with their computers using intuitive gestures, has been delayed until July.
The release of the Leap Motion sensor, which enables users to interact with… (Leap Motion )

Leap Motion is delaying the release of its 3-D gesture-recognition controller to July 22 to give the company more time for testing.

“As a company, in good conscience, we couldn’t sacrifice the testing process," Chief Executive Michael Buckwald said Thursday during a call with reporters. "We have to push back the date.... We really believe in meeting our own expectations and I think a little additional testing is necessary to get there.”

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The device was originally supposed to ship in early 2013 before being pushed back to May 13.

The latest delay, Buckwald said, "really isn't motivated by any major issues." He said the extra two months would be used for a round of beta testing that would focus on the software side, and not on the device's hardware. More than 600,000 Leap Motion devices have already been made.

Still, it's a disappointment for the thousands of people who have pre-ordered the highly anticipated tiny touch-free gesture control sensor, which was the star of last month's SXSW Interactive festival in Austin, Texas.

Leap Motion's technology 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.

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.

Buckwald said pre-orders "will definitely" ship July 22, with retailers to begin selling the device shortly after.

Last week, San Francisco-based Leap Motion said it was partnering with Hewlett-Packard. It said its Leap Motion controller would be bundled with select HP personal computers and that its 3-D motion-sensing technology would be embedded in some of the computer giant's devices.

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