One of the more interesting non Apple/Google/Samsung/Microsoft products to come out this year was the Leap Motion controller, a USB-sized block of aluminum that impressed us with its Kinect-like gesture controls. Now that laptops with integrated Leap Motion tech are rolling production lines, the company's CEO Michael Buckwald says it's targeting smartphones and tablets next.
"We expect that there will be tablets and phones in the market with Leap Motion technology embedded next year, probably in Q3 or Q4," said Buckwald in a briefing with TNW.
But Leap Motion isn't limiting its new input technology to PCs and mobile devices, either. Buckwald also wants Leap Motion's gesture tech integrated into tablets, phones, TVs and head-mounted displays and cars. While Buckwald didn't provide examples of how Leap Motion would work for a HUD or inside of car, we can already come up with a handful of ideas off the top of heads. How about an Oculus Rift-like HUD that puts you in a first-person shooter with your arm as an assault rifle? Or how about being able to bring up and navigate Google Map StreetView on a dashboard screen without having to poke around with clunky directional pads or touchscreens?
For now, Buckwald admits there are still great challenges in interfacing Leap Motion gestures into everyday devices such as tablets. It isn't a matter of simply integrating the controller, but figuring out how to bring new and innovative experiences to Leap Motion-integrated products:
"[For tablets] it’s about creating a three dimensional experience for interacting with the tablet. There are some unique things though that we’re talking to OEMs about because you could use that 3D space to interact with screens that are distant as well. So you can imagine syncing an Android phone to a TV on the other side of the room and then using the space above it to control that TV."
Could Leap Motion herald in a future of gadgets controlled with Minority Report-like fluidity? If Leap Motion's "mechanical and physical part of the equation" are seriously ready to go, we may see this future sooner, rather than later.