Leap Motion Controller

There is a new human-computer interface device on the market that lets you manipulate the cursor or even 3D objects by just waving your hands in the air. That device is called the Leap Motion Controller, and it is surprisingly inexpensive. Using infrared cameras, it can track exactly what you are doing with your hands and use that to control your mouse cursor or run specialized code written into compatible applications (similar to how pressure-sensitive tablets have even more options in Photoshop than just the operating system you are running).

Autodesk has integrated the Leap Motion into Maya, so it is already possible to use it with at least one popular 3D software suite. Leap Motion has a promotional video on their website showing it in use with Maya, although the technical details and examples are very sparse:

And the controller is already in use at one industrial company that makes heavy use of CAD and 3D objects: SpaceX, the pioneering space delivery company.

In case you don’t know, the person in that last video is Elon Musk. If you do not know Elon Musk, he is basically a real-life Tony Stark: he was one of the founders of PayPal and earned about $165 million when it was sold to eBay, he started Tesla Motors (with his own money) with the long-term goal of eliminating fossil fuels used for ground transportation, founded SpaceX (also with his own money) with the long-term goal of colonizing Mars, and along the way also decided to start a company that makes solar panels for homes and businesses to reduce or eliminate dependency on the electric company. If you want a much better background of Elon Musk and his crazy-amazing goals with Tesla and SpaceX (and very strong, in-depth reasons for why they are desperately needed), check out the on-going series of articles over at WaitButWhy.com.