Leap Motion

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This article is about the motion-sensing technology company. For the physical movement, see jumping.
Leap Motion, Inc.
Industry Motion Control
Founded 2010
Founders Michael Buckwald
David Holz
Headquarters San Francisco, California, United States
Website LeapMotion.com

Leap Motion, Inc. is an American company that manufactures and markets a computer hardware sensor device that supports hand and finger motions as input, analogous to a mouse, but requiring no hand contact or touching.


The technology for Leap Motion was first developed in 2008, while co-founder David Holz was studying for a Ph.D. in mathematics.[1][2] Following an initial angel investment, Holz co-founded the company in 2010 with his childhood friend Michael Buckwald. The company raised a $1.3M seed financing round in June 2011 with investments from venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, and SOSventures, as well as several angel investors.[3] In May 2012, Leap Motion announced a $12.75M Series A funding round led by Highland Capital Partners.[4] In January 2013, Leap Motion announced a further series B round of funding for $30M.[5]

After operating in quiet since 2010, Leap Motion publicly announced its first product, originally called The Leap, on May 21, 2012. The company launched a software developer program in October 2012[6] and distributed roughly 12,000 units to developers interested in creating applications for the device. While the device was slated to launch in May 2013, full-scale shipping was later delayed until July.[7] In March 2014, it was reported in TechCrunch that roughly 500,000 units had been sold, far short of initial expectations; as a result, Leap Motion announced layoffs for 10 percent of its workforce, primarily in sales and marketing.[8]

In May 2014, Leap Motion released its version 2 software to developers in a public beta.[9][10][11]


Leap Motion has an app store called Airspace where it sells apps made by developers. [12][13] In November 2013, the LA Times reported that Airspace had reached 150 apps. [14]

Hardware Partnerships[edit]

Leap Motion has partnered with ASUS who is expected to ship high-end notebooks, and all-in-one PCs (AIO PCs) with the technology later in 2013.[15] Leap Motion also announced a deal with Hewlett Packard to embed its technology within HP computers.[16] In December 2013, it was reported Leap Motion would be embedded into eleven HP devices, including keyboards and laptops. [17]

Retail Partnerships[edit]

Leap Motion has formed retail partnerships with Best Buy, Newegg, and Amazon.com. [18] Leap Motion controllers are sold by Dick Smith in Australia and New Zealand.[19][20]


The Leap Motion controller is a small USB peripheral device which is designed to be placed on a physical desktop, facing upward. Using two monochromatic IR cameras and three infrared LEDs, the device observes a roughly hemispherical area, to a distance of about 1 meter (3 feet). The LEDs generate a 3D pattern of dots of IR light[21] and the cameras generate almost 300 frames per second of reflected data, which is then sent through a USB cable to the host computer, where it is analyzed by the Leap Motion controller software using "complex maths" in a way that has not been disclosed by the company, in some way synthesizing 3D position data by comparing the 2D frames generated by the two cameras.[22][23]

Leap Motion Controller

The smaller observation area and higher resolution of the device differentiates the product from the Kinect, which is more suitable for whole-body tracking in a space the size of a living room.[24] In a demonstration to CNET, The Leap was shown to perform tasks such as navigating a website, using pinch-to-zoom gestures on maps, high-precision drawing, and manipulating complex 3D data visualizations.[24] Leap Motion CEO Michael Buckwald told CNET:

Leap Motion initially distributed thousands of units to developers who are interested in creating applications for the device. The Leap Motion controller was first shipped in July, 2013.[25]

Developer Community[edit]

In December 2013, Founders Fund and SOSVentures announced the Leap Axlr8r, a business accelerator for startups making innovative use of the Leap Motion controller.[26]


On July 22, 2013, the Leap Motion Controller was released to pre-order customers to mixed reviews.[27][28] To some reviewers, the product feels underwhelming and does not live up to the hype. It is an "admirable distraction but not useful for truly productive usage" and to some it feels as though they "experienced a gimmick". Some reviews have expressed cautious optimism about the product's success and innovation.[29][30][31]


  1. ^ Richardson, Nicole Marie (2013-05-28). "One Giant Leap for Mankind". Inc.com. Retrieved 2014-08-15. Holz began developing the software back in 2008 while he was studying for a Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Frustrated by the limitations of the mouse and keyboard, he spent nearly five years developing the cameras in the controller. By the time he paired up with Buckwald, a childhood friend and entrepreneur, Holz had a prototype. […] 
  2. ^ Foster, Tom (2013-07-22). "Will These Guys Kill The Computer Interface As We Know It?". Popular Science. Retrieved 2014-08-15. 
  3. ^ Tsotsis, Alexia (2011-06-10). "OcuSpec Raises 1.3M From Andreessen And Others To Build An "Affordable Kinect"". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2012-05-23. Stealth motion control startup OcuSpec has just raised a $1.3 million seed round from Andreesen Horowitz, Founders Fund, SOSventures International and angels Brian McClendon, Bill Warner and others. […] Leap Motion (previously OcuSpec) 
  4. ^ "Leap Motion Announces $12.75 Million Series A Funding Round Led by Highland Capital Partners". Leap Motion. Marketwire. 2012-05-09. Retrieved 2012-05-23. Leap Motion, a San Francisco-based motion-control software company changing the future of human/computer interaction, today announced a $12.75 million Series A funding round led by Highland Capital Partners with participation from existing investors. 
  5. ^ Kosner, Anthony (2013-12-06). "Leap Motion Announces $30M Series B Funding And Bundle Deal With ASUS Computers"". Forbed. Retrieved 2013-12-08. Leap Motion, the startup behind the revolutionary LEAP motion-control device, has secured an additional $30 million in Series B funding, and announced a partnership with ASUS to bundle its controllers with ”new high-end notebooks and premium All-in-One PCs later this year.” 
  6. ^ Panzarino, Matthew (2012-10-29). "Leap Motion launches Software Developer Program and starts sending test units of its 3D controller". The Next Web. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  7. ^ Etherington, Darrell (2013-05-25). "Leap Motion Controller Ship Date Delayed Until July 22, Due To A Need For A Larger, Longer Beta Test". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  8. ^ Etherington, Darrell (2014-03-20). "Leap Motion Lays Off 10% Of Its Workforce After Missing On First Year Sales Estimates". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  9. ^ Buckley, Sean (2014-05-28). "Leap Motion's latest motion tracking tech can see your joints". Engadget. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  10. ^ Moynihan, Tim (2014-05-28). "Leap Motion Adds More-Intricate Tracking to Its Amazing Controller". Wired. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  11. ^ Wing, Anthony (2014-05-29). "Leap Motion Hand Tracking Gets More Realistic To Solve Real World Problems". Forbes. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  12. ^ Lee, Kevin (2013-12-06). "Leap Motion bounding to more HP desktops, all-in-ones with new keyboard"". Techradar. Retrieved 2013-12-08. Users will be able to access Airspace, Leap Motion's own app store, for a (hopefully) expanding number of applications. 
  13. ^ Kosner, Anthony (2013-11-23). "Leap Motion Controller Leaps Forward With Software, Sharpens Focus With Apps"". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-12-08. This is only the second app produced by Leap Motion that has been released into Airspace. 
  14. ^ Rodriguez, Salvador (2013-11-20). "Leap Motion's 'Free Form' app is like Play-Doh of the digital age". L.A. Times. Retrieved 2013-12-08. On Wednesday, Leap Motion also announced that since launching in July, it has doubled the number of apps available for its device to 150. 
  15. ^ "ASUS partners up with Leap Motion". 
  16. ^ "Leap Motion seals HP deal to embed gesture control technology". 
  17. ^ Terdiman, Daniel (2013-12-09). "HP embeds Leap Motion gesture control tech in 11 computers"". CNET. Retrieved 2013-12-09. In September, HP said it was incorporating Leap Motion's tech into the Envy 17 laptop, making it the first manufacturer to build the system directly into a computer. This time around, however, HP is embedding the system into stand-alone keyboards, as well as into laptops. All told, the Leap Motion system will be included in eight HP desktop all-in-one machines, and three new desktop PCs. 
  18. ^ Chacos, Brad (2013-12-06). "HP embeds Leap Motion gesture controller in 11 desktop and all-in-one PCs". PCWorld. Retrieved 2013-12-09. Leap Motion works on any computer, and you can buy the standalone hardware for $80 at Best Buy stores, or online at Newegg, Amazon, or Leap Motion's own website. 
  19. ^ Catanzariti, Ross (2013-10-10). "LDick Smith to exclusively sell Leap Motion". ARN. Retrieved 2013-12-09. "Dick Smith has more than 270 retail stores, a presence in many high-profile David Jones stores and a popular online retail site, making it the perfect partner for Leap Motion to launch in Australia," he said. 
  20. ^ Bell, Alan (2013-04-12). "Leap Motion 3D Controller Launches in NZ With Dick Smith". The Southland Times. Retrieved 2013-12-09. Leap Motion have announced the local release details for the Leap Motion 3D controller this morning, revealing the date that it will become available in New Zealand[...]the Leap Motion 3D Controller retails in New Zealand for $159, and can be pre-ordered online at dicksmith.co.nz. 
  21. ^ Leap Motion illumination pattern shown in video.
  22. ^ "Observation Area". 
  23. ^ An inside view of the Leap Motion controller.
  24. ^ a b Terdiman, Daniel (2012-05-20). "Leap Motion: 3D hands-free motion control, unbound". Cutting Edge. c|net. Retrieved 2012-05-23. 
  25. ^ http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/25/leap-motion-controller-ship-date-delayed-until-july-22-due-to-a-need-for-a-larger-longer-beta-test/
  26. ^ Wagner, Lauren (2013-12-09). "Founders Fund and SOSventures launch startup accelerator for Leap Motion’s gesture tech". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2013-12-08. Founders Fund and SOSventures have joined to launch Leap Axlr8r –– a startup accelerator for companies building on Leap Motion, the gesture-based technology that’s dictating the future of 3D human computer interaction. 
  27. ^ Leap Motion Controller, Great Hardware in Search of Great Software July 24, 2013 NYT
  28. ^ http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/07/hands-on-with-the-leap-motion-controller-cool-but-frustrating-as-hell/
  29. ^ "Leap Motion Launches With Limited Appeal, But It Could Be A Ticking Time Bomb Of Innovation". 
  30. ^ "Leap Motion controller review". 
  31. ^ "Leap Motion: As far as controllers go it’s not a big leap forward… yet". 

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