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NY Times Offers App for Debut of Leap Gesture Controllers
NY Times Offers App for Debut of Leap Gesture Controllers

By Barry Levine
July 19, 2013 11:18AM

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Developers are "getting excited about another opportunity to move forward on a natural user interface," said analyst Michael Facemire. However, he noted that it was unlikely Leap Motion's technology would "change everything," particularly given that we do not know yet whether users actually like waving their hands in the air all day long.
 



The day when we interact with our computers by moving our hands in the air gets closer as major new apps using such technology get released. On Thursday, The New York Times announced it was launching a news app that uses Leap Motion's coming gestural controller.

The Leap Motion controllers hit the market July 22, at which time the new app will be available in Airspace, Leap Motion's new app store. The companies said the Times app will be the only news app available for the technology when the product launches.

The new app features a Top News feed with articles presented in a card format, with headline, summary, and an image. Users who have the Leap Motion technology will be able to navigate through Top News by moving their hands left and right above the Leap Motion controller, or they can flip an on-screen card over by holding a finger steady in space for a few seconds in front of a given on-screen card, in order to read the full story on the back.

'Brand-New Way'

Up-and-down scrolling is a matter of moving one's hand in a circular motion, and a swiping motion navigates from article to article. A shake of the hand, like shaking an eraser, returns the user to Top News.

The Times has also included capabilities so that advertisers can use similar gestural motions to move between ad units embedded on cards. In a statement, Times' Executive Vice President Denise Warren said that the new gestural interaction "allows users to navigate and explore New York Times content in a brand-new way." She indicated that this app is "a first step" in her company's use of Leap Motion's technology.

The news app was developed by The New York Times Idea Lab which, among other projects, also created the seminal Snowfall interactive news project.

Michael Facemire, an analyst for Forrester Research, said that developers were "getting excited about another opportunity to move forward on a natural user interface." However, he noted that it was unlikely Leap Motion's technology would "change everything," particularly given that we do not know yet whether users actually like waving their hands in the air all day long.

In-the-Air Plus Touch-the-Screen?

Current Analysis' Brad Sherman noted that in-the-air gesture has also been coming to smartphones, such as in Samsung's Galaxy S4, but he added that this kind of interaction "will remain a niche until it can be used with generally existing hardware." He also pointed out that in-the-air gesture might work best when combined with touch-the-screen interaction. In that case, Leap Motion or similar technology -- like, say, Microsoft's Kinect -- might end up rescuing touchscreen-oriented interfaces like Windows 8.

The controller, about the size of a pack of cigarettes and priced at about $80, offers a 150-degree field of view and a high-resolution capability to track all 10 fingers up to 290 frames per second with 1/100th of a millimeter resolution.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Gerald:

Posted: 2013-07-20 @ 12:04pm PT
that would be the tiniest pack of cigarettes I have ever seen. it is more the size of 4 rather short cigarettes ;)

and titles like LICHT for the Leap that use the 3D input really show how superior the Leap is compared to touchscreens.



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