CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Diving into the Leap Motion Controller (pictures)

Curious how motion control works with the little Leap Motion Controller? Check out it (and its apps) close up.

Scott Stein
1 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
The Leap Motion Controller, $80, tracks your fingers and hands through 3D space. But it's a little device, and it comes in a little white box.
2 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
A mini-unboxing: the Leap Motion Controller, a USB cable, and a link to download installation software. That's it.
3 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
The Leap Motion Controller is the size of a USB stick and is rimmed in aluminum.
4 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
The glossy top has infrared sensors and cameras underneath.
5 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
USB plug-in requires its own cable.
6 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
It's so small, you almost wish it was somehow wireless...but it isn't.
7 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
This is where it sits: in front of your computer, on your desk. The green LED is lit when connected.
8 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
An brief orientation takes you through your first setup.
9 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
Graphics show you the Leap Motion's virtual sensory field; it extends about 8 cubic feet around your desk, above the Controller.
10 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
A skeletal hand demonstrates finger tracking: all 10 fingers can be tracked at once, along with the bending of individual joints.
11 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
A brief finger-painting exercise to show you how your fingers can "dip" into space to press into or pull back on your brushstroke.
12 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
Airspace Home, the Leap Motion's app launcher, keeps track of all your Leap Motion-capable applications and links to the Airspace Store.
13 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
One app, Touchless, allows you to use the Leap Motion Controller to control Windows or Mac OS X directly. It also works with multifinger gestures, but the 3D gestural language isn't as easy to use as simply reaching for a touch screen. Seen here with a Dell XPS 18.
14 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
Games offer some of the Leap Motion's best experiences: BoomBall, seen here, is a 3D block-busting game using your finger as the paddle. Small finger bends can angle the paddle's shots.
15 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
The Leap Motion Controller connected to a MacBook Air. Since Macs don't have touch screens, there's arguably a little more benefit to what the Leap Motion brings.
16 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
The Leap Motion's low profile makes it easy to pack in a bag and take with you, although you'll need a table or flat surface to use it properly.
17 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
Playing around with grabbing glowing polygons in Lotus, an art-music app. The Leap Motion Controller has a fair share of beautiful but experimental artsy apps in its Airspace app catalog.
18 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
More Lotus space-fiddling.
19 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
Another Lotus mini-experience: spinning a weird head with your fingers.
20 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
Spinning many heads. Did I mention a lot of the Leap Motion experiences were artsy?
21 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
A closer peek at the nicely laid-out Airspace Store, which already has around 75 apps. A good handful run on both Mac and Windows, but some are Mac/Windows only. Categories include Education, Games, and Productivity.
22 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
Will the Leap Motion Controller ever replace your touch pad or mouse? No, not right now. But could it be a useful accessory? Well, that depends on whether you think you'd use apps with motion control. You probably already know the answer.
23 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
Playing Dropchord, a game that uses a finger from each hand in a series of arcade-like musical challenges. Games like this show how well the Leap Motion can be used for precision controls. Google Earth also works to impressive effect.
24 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET
The Leap Motion's sense of 3D space begs for 3D computing. Maybe wearing an Oculus headset would result in a better experience.

More Galleries

Yamaha motorcycle and instrument designers trade jobs (pictures)

Yamaha motorcycle and instrument designers trade jobs (pictures)

16 Photos
CNET's 'Day of the Dead Devices' altar (pictures)

CNET's 'Day of the Dead Devices' altar (pictures)

9 Photos
2007 Los Angeles Auto Show: concept cars

2007 Los Angeles Auto Show: concept cars

14 Photos
Best sound bars under $300

Best sound bars under $300

18 Photos
2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke reports for diesel duty
2018 Ford F-150 diesel

2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke reports for diesel duty

22 Photos
Music-friendly cell phone accessories

Music-friendly cell phone accessories

11 Photos
Cosplay at Comic-Con 2016: From Stormtroopers to Sansa Stark

Cosplay at Comic-Con 2016: From Stormtroopers to Sansa Stark

34 Photos