Leap Motion Sensor as A Potential Input Device


By: Radityo Noeraldi Arief

The use of input devices such as the mouse, keyboard and joystick has always been necessary to control and send information to applications inside a computer. As technology is changing, input devices are also evolving to suit most of the changes. Before Sony created a physical keyboard especially for the PlayStation to have more control in the character input, people were using the Joystick to input characters using the On-Screen Keyboard. There are many methods and devices used for input, one of them is Leap Motion sensor. Leap motion is a sensor device that detects and inputs hand plus finger motion which can be used to perform certain actions in an application. This can be more of an interactive use because the user is not directly touching the device. There are pros and cons on this device but does this device have the potential to be a relevant input device and for development.

People may still prefer other input devices rather than Leap Motion as they are more easy to be used and people are already used to using these devices such as the mouse and keyboard because of their work. Leap Motion may be more interesting to people in the game development field especially in virtual reality and augmented reality. It is also possible to use it in robotics, by controlling a machine with hand movement like the scene from Iron Man 3 of Tony Stark controlling parts of his suit with his hand. If possible, it may help disabled people with problems using a mouse or other input devices. As follows, Leap Motion can be used in a lot of fields but the problem is how can it develop in that field and how to convince people to use it. Leap Motion may not be convinced to use because it has to be almost accurate in terms of hand movement in order for it to function properly which can take out people’s reason to use it. But if it is developed well, it is possible to create an application to suit the right kind of people and environment.

The Leap Motion device can be used to develop applications but there will be a problem in not the programming process but also from the device itself. Leap Motion has an API that can be used develop applications in many programming languages such as C++, C#, Java, Python, etc. which can be checked in Leap Motion’s developer website. As mentioned before, it is also possible to create games with Leap Motion using game engines such as Unity which will require the assets and SDK provided by the Leap Motion developers themselves. An issue for the application developer is how to handle the data that is input by the Leap Motion itself. If one wants to develop and application with Leap Motion, the person has to understand the advantages and weakness of the device itself as an input device. During my first time using Leap Motion, I found out that Leap Motion has a problem detecting hands that overlap with each other, and fingers other than the index and pinky.

In brief, Leap Motion can be used in a variety of fields but it depends in how it can be relevant and developed in that field. As a developer of Leap Motion, one has to understand the capabilities of Leap Motion as a device and its weaknesses so that later it would not be difficult to create an application using the API provided by the Leap Motion team.



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