LEAP Motion Review by Engadget

I’ve been interested in the LEAP Motion controller since I first heard about it and the Oculus Rift. So, seeing Engadget’s review appear online I had to check it out.

Obviously they found some problems. You can read more about their experience at their web site: Leap Motion controller review.

On the site they make some comparisons to Microsoft’s Kinect. It does not cover as much space as the Kinect does. I think the LEAP is more targeted at someone sitting in front of a computer. I believe the Kinect is targeted at being competition for the Wii. So, depending on your planned use this is a problem or non-issue.

The precision of tracking in the LEAP is apparently better than the tracking Kinect can provide. The LEAP can track each finder to millimeter precision. However, as you probably noticed in the video, it can lose track of fingers.

They get into the orientation app that comes with the LEAP controller and the apps made for LEAP. The orientation app disjointed the Engadget reviewer, Sharif Sakr, and appears to reveal some problems with the LEAP. But, the apps seemed to work well. So, is perfect precision to enable hand rotation from palm down to up needed? May be not. Version 2.0 of the LEAP controller software is planned for 2014. We’ll see what changes.

Setup for Windows and Mac was very similar. LEAP works with Win 7 & 8 and Mac OS X 10.7 or higher. Testing on Win 8 they wondered if they could replace the mouse. They couldn’t. It was hard to control things. But, this may be a problem in how Sharif Sakr, the reviewer, was making gestures. Michael, in the next review, did not seem to encounter that problem.

In any event Sharif felt the LEAP Motion was not ready for prime time.

9 to 5 Mac

Another reviewwritten by Michael Steeber found on 9 to 5 is similar. But, they did mention the Better Touch Tool that allows one to customize the LEAP for your use.

Still the end opinion is similar, feels incomplete, not yet a finished product. They liked its ability to work more easily in 3D space. See: Review: Leap Motion is a fascinating, yet flawed look into the future of computing.


You may remember Robin talking in Drax’s World Maker video about her arms getting tired. 9 to 5’s reviewer mentions the same problem.

There is also the small gesture space the LEAP provides.

I am not sure how the LEAP is going to work with Second Life. We know that SL did some work on integrating the LEAP Motion controller to SL. I’m not yet sure that UI has made it into any viewer release.

My hope was that this would be an inexpensive controller for use with the Oculus Rift. I am not as enthusiastic as I was about that possibility. But, we have some time before the Rift is released. The LEAP is being upgraded and we are learning more about how these new devices will work.

I’m still thinking of ordering a LEAP. But, I am no longer in a hurry to buy one.

4 thoughts on “LEAP Motion Review by Engadget

  1. Carmack said Oculus plans to do hand tracking “After positional tracking is nailed” so there’s that, too.


  2. I pre-ordered one, waited and waited and got it and wound up sending it back pretty quickly. It works perfectly, and I will admit to giggling gleefully as I made the little robot hands move around in sync with my gestures.

    two things caused me to give up on it though. The main one is probably only an issue for me, I use a USB to DVI video adaptor for my computer to run three screens and as soon as I added the Leap Motion the third screen went pfffpht. I could never get it to work with the Leap installed.

    The second reason is that for me, at this moment, it’s a solution in search of a problem. I was never able to manage to use the Leap to control anything on my computer. I imagine if it weren’t preventing me from using my third screen I’d have dug in a bit harder and tried to find a way to make use of it but the trade off didn’t work for me.

    Though the robot hands were pretty cool 🙂

  3. I’ve always seen the Leap more as a supplement than as a replacement (which is why I consider it more interesting as an actual useful tool than the Rift).
    Imagine just lifting your hands from the keyboard, doing the appropriate gesture (say, gripping an object and rotating it), and work on with your high-precision mouse.
    Whether it has/will get the precision and software for that, I don’t know yet, but that is the sort of use I envision, rather than the “it must completely revolutionize and replace everything” attitude which is often whipped up

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