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After delays, Leap Motion gesture controllers start shippingThe Leap Motion device that brings gesture recognition to your desktop and laptop is now available. CNET's Sumi Das tries her hand at the new user interface with apps that show what the controller can do.
-Imagine a computer that could see and understand your hand gestures. That touch-less interface is possible with the new controller from San Francisco startup Leap Motion. -Inside the device, there are 2 cameras and some infrared LEDs. And those are projecting a light onto the hand and that video is getting sent to the computer for our software analyzes it and extracts the 3D information. -Instead of clicking on an object with a mouse or touching a screen, you can point to it with your finger. In Google Maps, users zoom in and out by moving their hand up and down. And that could prove easier than clicking on tiny control buttons. -You know, you can do all this with a keyboard mouse. But, you know, you wouldn't be able to do it nearly as fluently. -The controller can't track your every move. Gestures must be within 2 feet of the device. But in that zone, the technology is remarkably accurate. -So this is a 1cm/square that I'm zooming in and on in space. So you can see even this one 1cm/square and stay incredibly precise. -At $80, the controller is affordable. But what can you do with it? Roughly 75 apps are available to start with the heavy emphasis on games like Dropchord, a puzzle game and Block 54, which presents jingle-like challenges. -This is really something that you couldn't do with the mouse or keyboard, right? Because it uses all the data that the controller provides and it captures every little jitter of your fingers. -There are educational and drawing offerings too. Don't expect a lot of productivity apps however. Leap Motion says, it's not out to replace the keyboard or mouse. -Everyone has a desktop or a laptop. And these are very powerful machines the people only use 1 percent of them. We're hoping in that-- we can let them use the other 99 percent to learn a musical instrument or play a game or build something. -One potential hurdle users face is having to remember various gestures. -There definitely is a learning curve as you go from app to app, because even though our philosophy is about making the interaction as close to real life is possible, every developer is approaching it and those slightly different ways. -The technology will also be embedded in laptops down the road. Leap Motion is partnering with HP and Asus. Still, the bigger question is: Will consumers buy applications for yet another platform when there are so many others competing for their money. In San Francisco, I'm Sumi Das, cnet.com for CBS News.