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Good news for hands-free hype, Leap Motion gesture-controlled device shipping May 13

the leapCheck out our full review of the Leap Motion gesture controller.

Leap Motion, the hands-free gesture control system that has captured the computing world’s attention, has announced that all preorders made from earlier this year will ship on May 13. That’s right – all of you believers out there who saw The Leap Motion Controller’s initial launch and immediately threw down your money in the hopes of living a mouse and keyboard-less existence will have the device in less than three months time.

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And if you aren’t among the first buyers, Leap Motion VP of product marketing Mike Zagorsek tells us that the device will be available exclusively in Best Buy stores beginning May 19. Just don’t expect them to stay on shelves very long. The set price at launch is $80. 

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For the record, the Leap Motion Controller will support operating system interactions with Windows 7 and 8, and Mac OS X 10.7 and 10.8.

In addition to the availability announcements, Leap Motion says that its app store has a new official name – Airspace – and that the company has been working closely with some big-name developers in time for the release. Disney, The Weather Channel, and 3D design and engineering software company Autodesk are among the impressive list. Cut The Rope and an exclusive game from indie game developer Double Fine will also be available at launch. Suffice it to say, there will be some variety.

leap scaleZagorsek says that the unit we were able to go hands-on with at CES this past January is the hardware that buyers will see come May, although he says the team is “constantly refining the internals and getting feedback from developers. But the shell and design and how it works, that is what people will get.”

The momentum of the hands-free revolution has been building, yet it remains just beyond our fingertips (pun intended) in concept labs and demonstrations that never make it to store shelves. The Leap Motion Controller is one of the first sophisticated systems to give us hands-free PC use, and now it’s finally coming to fruition. If you simply can’t wait until May, we’ll have more hands-on time with the Leap Motion Controller this March at SXSW, where the team is showing off the hardware with some of the new apps it’s been working on. 

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Thalmic Labs’ founder on ditching touch screens, nixing mice, and why gesture control is the future
thalmic labs myo gesture control interview header

The concept of gesture control isn't anything new – think of Nintendo’s clumsy Power Glove, which dates all the way back to 1989. In practice, however, we’ve been miles away from the effortless, graceful, almost instinctual computer interaction depicted in sci-fi movies such as Minority Report.
Thalmic Labs, a year-old company based out of Waterloo, Ontario, is aiming to change all that with a futuristic armband called the MYO (my-yo). Named after a Greek prefix meaning “muscle,” the MYO reads electrical muscle activity directly, promising seamless interaction with a broad range of technology. A YouTube demo video for the MYO (below), for instance, shows a man snapping his fingers to start an iTunes track, or throwing up “devil horns” to share a skiing clip on Facebook.

To use MYO, you strap it on the arm and perform gestures to issue commands. The company claims it'll work out of the box with Macs and PCs when it ships sometime in late 2013 (the company's taking pre-orders for its second shipment of MYOs shipping early 2014), but it could also be used for iOS and Android. The arm band communicates with whatever computer or device you’re using it with via a low-power Bluetooth connection. While the arm band itself won’t be available until late into the year, the API will be available this summer for developers to design apps for use with the armband.
We first covered the MYO during a pre-order rush that ended up selling more than 25,000 armbands. To learn more about the device, we went straight to the source: Aaron Grant, one of the three founders of Thalmic Labs.
In a Skype interview, Grant shared with us what it's like to start a company straight out of college, how the MYO is different from other gesture control devices, what some of the most interesting ideas people have for using the MYO, and what he sees for the future of gesture control technology. 
Digital Trends: So what makes the MYO really stand out from other gesture control devices like Leap Motion's Leap Controller or Microsoft's Kinect? How does it work?

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Leap Motion Controller delayed until July for additional testing

Check out our full review of the Leap Motion gesture controller.
We've seen the Leap Motion Controller in action plenty of times over the past year, and we can't wait to get our hands on one. Unfortunately, we're going to have to wait a little longer. Leap Motion, the company behind the 3D gesture-based Leap controller, originally stated that its hundreds of thousands of pre-orders would begin shipping on May 13, but now CEO Michael Buckwald says the Leap will be delayed until July 22.
Why the delay? During a conference call today, Buckwald cited the need for additional testing. The 3D gesture control software and hardware combo allows users to control their computers without a keyboard, mouse, or even a touchscreen. Instead, hand gestures are used to draw, play games, and create virtual 3D models.
"There is nothing catastrophically wrong," Buckwald said. There are 600,000 devices that are ready to ship, but the delay has more to do with testing the OS and polishing it all up before it goes out to the masses. There are 12,000 developers who currently have a Leap and are working on apps for it. In addition to the SDK they've been working with, Leap Motion is going to hook them up with the full consumer version of the software so the company can diversify its beta testing more. 
Everyone who pre-ordered a Leap received an email today from Buckwald stating:
"The reality is we very likely could have hit the original ship date. But it wouldn’t have left time for comprehensive testing. This will come in the form of a beta test that will start in June. We will give the 12k developers who currently have Leap devices access to the feature complete product including OS interaction (today developers only have access to the SDK). We will also invite some people who are not developers to join the beta test.
Ultimately, the only way we felt 100% confident we could deliver a truly magical product that would do justice to this new form of interaction, was to push the date so we would have more time for a larger, more diverse beta test."
As we've previously reported, Leap just partnered with HP to build the Leap 3D gesture control technology into HP products. The company also has a big launch planned with Best Buy, which presumably will still occur when the device is released on July 22. Clearly, Leap Motion has huge plans for its flagship product and wants to get it right before bringing it to market. It's actually nice to see a company take a breath and realize that nobody wants to buy a super-hyped device that's only half-baked. While it may hurt short-term profits or press, in the long run, the Leap will be better for it. 

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Leap Motion controller brings Google Earth to your fingertips

Check out our full review of the Leap Motion gesture controller.
Happy Earth Day! Today is a day to remind ourselves why Mother Earth is worth protecting, and what better way to see our vast planet in action than by taking an environmentally sustainable, virtual journey through Google Earth?
To make your digital spin around the planet that much more fun, Google is releasing the Google Earth 7.1 update for both the free and professional desktop versions today, which adds support for the 3D motion-controlled Leap Motion controller.
The $80 Leap Motion controller is just about the size of a pack of gum and adds Kinect-like, hands-free gesture controls to navigate the computer. See our hands-on video from CES to get a better sense of how it works. Just last week, the company also announced that it's embedding its Leap technology into upcoming HP devices. Needless to say, it's been a big week for Leap Motion.
For the thousands of Leap Motion developers around the world who already have one of these devices to play with, they'll get first dibs on controlling Google Earth with their fingers today. Since Leap Motion CEO and co-founder Michael Buckwald wants to "see what new explorations people leap into,” developers are encouraged to submit videos of their sojourns around the virtual world, using the hashtag #leapinto to tag their clips. The company will be rounding up all the #leapinto videos into a YouTube playlist, inevitably making us even more impatient for our own device.
Whether you're a fan who either pre-ordered the hands-free controller sometime between now and last May, or you just plan on grabbing one from Best Buy on May 19, you'll be able to explore Google Earth with just your digits once you get your hands on the tiny perhipheral. According to company, the Google Earth update should be compatible on every platform: Windows (7 and 8), Mac OS (10.7 and 10.8), and Linux. The device will also feature its own app store, Airspace, where you'll be able to purchase unique apps that its developers have been working on for the device.
There are still several weeks between now and May 19, so we'll just have to make do with watching others on YouTube wave their hands around Google Earth while we patiently await our turn.

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