Leap Motion announced a ground-breaking partnership with ASUS this morning, bundling its computer-controlling hand gesture technology with PCs direct from the manufacturer for the first time. And the company unveiled a new $30 million funding round from existing investors, including Founders Fund and Highland Capital Partners.
The partnership with ASUS will see the Leap, a device about the size of a pack of gum, bundled with select ASUS computers shipping this year. The Leap functions much as a Nintendo Wii or Xbox Kinect, but is much more precise and sensitive, tracking movements of both hands and all ten fingers at 290 frames per second, and detecting movements as small as 1/100 of a millimeter.
I talked to Leap Motion’s president and chief operating officer, Andy Miller, about the announcements.
“We’re starting with all-in-ones and then moving to high-end laptops,” Miller said. “An all-in-one is just a great demonstration of our technology.”
Bundling the Leap with ASUS is just the beginning, Miller told me. The Leap adds physical gestures to the now-standard computer interface vocabulary of visuals, mice, keyboards, and touch, and “lots of other OEMs” are interested in the technology.
“Companies are interested in using Leap in laptops, tablets, robotic surgery … we’ve been contacted by thousands of places from fast-food places to fighter jet manufacturers to integrate this technology,” Miller said.
40,000 developers have expressed interested in building software that takes advantage of Leap’s gesture technology, and Leap Motion has already sent out 12,000 units to help developers build and test their code. Apps that are being built for Leap include games, productivity apps, music and art apps, and more, Miller said.