I was fortunate enough to be one of the reviewers for the leap motion sensor, which arrived to me about 3 days ago.
This is the first chance I have had to even open the box, let alone get it up and running. So here is an unboxing post, so we can go through that process together. Lets get started.
First things first, the box, very nicely branded, looks very professional, but lets get it open.
So the first thing we see upon opening is being pointed to a URL to set up our sensor, sounds easy enough, so I navigated to that URL.
Alright, so peeling off a sticker, not too taxing, plugging stuff into computers, I can do that all day long. Being comfortable? Already got that covered. This is looking like its going to be a very easy set up :)
So this is our sensor, looks great, much smaller than I expected. It looks like theres a little scratch in this image, but I can assure you it arrived in perfect condition, so after the very satisfying peeling off of the sticker, and admiring how shiney the thing was, time to plug it in.
I like how the package includes two wires, one for working as a desktop, and a much longer one, just in case you need it. Those with larger workspaces (or large robots!) would appreciate this i'm sure. Since I am working at a smaller desktop, I used the smaller cable, plugged it in, green lighting facing towards me (as instructed)
So from the screen grab above I clicked "Windows download" to start downloading everything we need all bundled up. While I was there I also went over to the developers portal, and set up an account. (as I'm going to need this in a later post when I get a chance to spend more time with it)
So once downloaded, I ran the installer, and after accepting the usual guff (and picking up a quick C++ redist!) was on my way to running the leap motions app dashboard.
From here the installer points you towards the "playground" which seems a nice starting point to get used to how the sensor feels, I ran the playground, but alas, was struck by "performance issues"
Luckily, this was only a case of windows installing a couple extra drivers (not sure why these were not bundled with the installer but there we go!) but once those were installed (and a bit of USB port swapping) we were back up and running again.
Right now time for the exciting part, after a very pretty leap motion introduction scene running in Unity, a little robot without a head came through a door, and I was instructed to pick up one of the lit up cubes on the floor, and plonk it on the chaps head.
I have to admit, my first attempts of this were laughable, and ended up accidently picking up the robot and throwing him across the room, but with a little patience, got him headed, and another bot came through.
The controls do take a little getting used to, and its quite strange trying to pinch an invisible object. It does not come naturally, but after a bit of frustrating pushing the cubes around with your index finger, it starts to come together. By the second time of loading this program, I had all heads attached to robots within 30 seconds and they all performed a routine dance for me to celebrate my dexterity and leap motion prowess.
The second half of the program is picking flower petals from a vitual flower, this all seemed a bit girly, so I thought my dear partner Joanna might enjoy this, and again with a bit of fumbling about, and almost smashing up the flower, she was able to pick it from the ground with one hand, and pick petals with the other.
The sensor is very easy to install (at least from a users perspective, we shall see about development next time!) and after a bit of practise, is easy to use. It's by no means perfect, and for more fiddley procedures did on occasion not register my finger movements, however this is just nit picking, I'm sure I need to improve my usability, and also I have read lighting can have an effect on performance, so I will try again in the day time and see if natural light helps. I will try to get an infrared image of the light from the sensor as well at some point, and see if there is an optimal way to tilt/shine the light to improve performance.
I am looking forward to developing with this sensor and getting some data out of it. I will keep you posted in the mean time.