Leap Motion, Minority Report-Style Controller, Launches May 13

Minority Report-style hand gestures and motion control will take one step closer to reality when the Leap Motion controller is released this spring. 

The Leap Motion controller will start shipping May 13 to those who pre-ordered the device. If you never got a chance to pre-order, leapmotion.com is still taking them, although shipping priorities will be organized by the date of reservation.

If you're willing to wait a few extra days, you can just walk into Best Buy and purchase the Leap Motion set directly. The stores will begin selling the controller on May 19, and they have started taking pre-orders Wednesday, Feb. 27.

The Leap Motion device retails for $79.99, plus tax and shipping (if necessary). It might sound pricy, but if it's as great as impressions indicate, the price could be well worth it.

The controller will run on Windows 7, Windows 8, Mac OS X 10.7 and 10.8. Along with the controller, users will get access to Airspace, which is basically the controller's app store. Prices will range between $1.99 and $9.99, and the store will offer a variety of software, including games, educational and productivity apps, and music and art programs.

Since Leap Motion can track movements down to 1/100th of a millimeter, the device is 100 times more accurate than Microsoft's Kinect. While the controller tracks motion, it actually does a lot more than that; it also creates an interactive space around the user that measures eight cubic feet. That entire area can be manipulated on-screen. Zoom in and out, turn it around, draw on it and more. Imagine moving through a digitally rendered building design, or an artist manipulating a digital model as (s)he sculpts it.

There are a lot of possibilities, and the good news is that over 12,000 developers are already hard at work at getting apps up and running. Here's a sampling of what to expect:

- Plug-ins for 3D design software leader Autodesk
- Corel's Painter apps
- Wreck-It Ralph: Sugar Rush Speedway racing game
- Double Fine's music game Dischord
- The Weather Channel app
- ZeptoLab's optimized Cut the Rope game

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