Californian start-up launches motion-controlled apps store

29 July 2013
By Tereza Pultarova
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San Francisco-based start-up Leap Motion has launched its Airspace store for motion-controlled apps

San Francisco-based start-up Leap Motion has launched its Airspace store for motion-controlled apps

The San Francisco-based company Leap Motion has launched a new app store for motion controlled apps in a bid to push forward its innovative technology.

Named Airspace, the store currently offers 75 apps all of which can be controlled with a simple wave of a hand.

"Right now in front of your computer, there's dead space. You're only using your desktop, where your keyboard and mouse rest, and the surface of your monitor," said Michael Zagorsek, vice president of product marketing for Leap Motion.

"We take all that otherwise useless space in between and make it come alive," he added.

The Airspace apps relay on a small device called the Leap Motion Controller. The $79.99 (£52) device is equipped with sensors capable of detecting movements, translating them into app commands.

Among the apps currently on offer is one that mimics the work of artists painting with a brush. Created by the Canadian software company Corel, the app enables users to produce computer generated images by simply moving their fingers while responding to the intensity of the movement by creating either a softer or a harder brush stroke.

Zagorsek believes that art and design, especially if requiring 3D work might become the future niche of the motion technology.

"In the real world, you can mould something like a piece of clay in minutes, but to do it on a computer requires hours of training and hours of work," he explained.

"The idea of being able to reach into your computer and manipulate a digital environment is really powerful."

Despite having signed a contract with PC manufacturer HP earlier this year, meaning the technology could soon be incorporated into commercially available PCs, Leap Motion’s vice president doesn’t think the technology will eventually replace the conventional mouse in the market.

"There's nothing wrong with the mouse and keyboard today. They have literally millions of pieces of software making those tools effective," he said.

In the Airspace app store users can find a motion-controlled version of Google Earth, the Unlock Windows app that enables password protecting computers and unlocking them by waving a hand over the controller or the popular game Cut the Rope that uses hand motion instead of touch-screen control.

Thalmic Labs, a Canada-based start-up, has developed a wearable device called MYO that uses gestures to control apps for gaming, 3D modelling and remote control of other devices. The company plans to ship MYO, which costs $149 (£97), to customers who pre-ordered later this year.

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