Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Leap Motion - One week test

I have tested my Leap Motion for a week and I give you my review of the product.

First sight, the product gives an feeling of quality. The power supply is via the USB cable, but it is not plug-and-play. It is indeed necessary to download and install the drivers and software (no CD provided)

The "Airspace Home" application is installed with the drivers. It centralizes all the compatible applications installed and is an access point to the app store.

The first application is installed "Leap Motion Visaliser" which allows you to view what the Leap Motion captures. This application is not a big deal, it is for test equipment and grandstanding but still allows to understand the limits of perception of the device. You can experiment that the Leap Motion can detect both hands, but should not run a hand over the other.

A look on the "Leap Airspace Store" to download additional software. At this moment there are only 60 applications for Windows.

The games are funny, but not for hours of play. But there is the most necessary, an application to control  Windows "Touchless For Windows".

Control with the fingers takes time getting started, but after a week of use, I sometimes chose my Leap Motion for some basic actions like clicks on icons or scrolling on web pages. It is also a pretty cool way to play simple games like card games.

The first thing to understand is that the Leap Motion detection and positioning are relative. You doesn't directly point the your target icon with your finger but you move a pointer trying to track your movements.

In this mode of operation, it is clearly much less precise than a mouse, but you can not compare mastery of a tool used for years with a new one. There is at least one advantage to this relative positioning: the size, definition and even the location of the screen are unimportant. You can also easily use a double screen, or ask the software to work only on a screen.

Over use, I found a few tricks to improve the use of this software with Windows:

Enable opening files with a single click. (double click is possible, but is almost impossible without adjusting the double-click speed to the slowest).
To activate the click: Control Panel> Folder Options> Single Click to open an item(point to select)
To change the double-click speed: Control Panel> Mouse> Double-click speed

Enable touch-friendly settings for Chrome
enter chrome://flags in Chrome's address bar

The two options I chosed are:
  • Enable touch events.
  • Touch Optimized UI
Like other users I found that the unit is hot. I measured an temperature of 40°C in the hottest spots with a temperature in the room of 24°C.

I also found that there is a big problem with the ergonomics suggestions. Leap Motion suggest to place the unit in front of the keyboad.
In this position I often move my mouse cursor or worse to operate a simple click through above the Leap to access my keyboard.It is really annoying.

My observation is that the Leap Motion should be put behind the keyboard. It needs to have enough room to put the the Leap not too close to the screen and have a keyboard flat enough not to hidde the vision of the Leap. In short, the ideal position is not easy to find.

I'm also skeptical about the use with Windows 8 interface. Windows 8 interface requires going on thecorners, and these are just the parts that I find most difficult to target.

In conclusion: the product requires time to grip and need a bigger software library and an deeper OS integration. Plugins to improve care of the Internet browsers would also be usefull.

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