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Gesture control has been around for quite some time, the best examples being the Wii and the Kinect, or even the PlayStation Move. It always looks cool to be able to control something on-screen with just the flick of a wrist, or the wave of a hand.

The problem with these existing controls are that they only work with their own closed systems. Now, a San Francisco startup called Leap Motion aims to create better and more sensitive gesture control that will beat even the Kinect out of the water.

The Leap gesture control has much higher sensitivity, being able to detect movements as small as 1/100th of a millimeter. We’ve all seen how awkward gesture control can get, since movement needs to be exaggerated in order to be picked up by something like the Kinect. With the Leap’s high sensitivity, movements as small as finger motions can be picked up, which the company says is 200 times better than anything the current market has on offer.

Watch a video demonstration of the Leap in action here.

What’s more, the Leap is not part of a closed loop system, which means you can control regular on-scren activity, much as you could with a mouse. Connect the Leap sensor to your computer and let the magic happen. The system creates a so-called “three-dimensional interaction space” of four cubic feet that is said to be more accurate and responsive than a touchscreen or mouse, and as reliable as a keyboard.

The Leap will ship out for US$70 early next year and what customers can look forward to is a small USB input device with a sophisticated software platform.

I have always been a fan of gesture control, and there are certainly many areas this technology could be applied to. Personally I’ve always wanted to control my PC with head movements when my hands are tied. I can’t wait to see where people can go with this when it is released.

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