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Looking for altertative ways of Human–computer interaction, I found www.leapmotion.com, which looks promising. They say in the website and in some interviews that they will release this device to the market in winter 2012, and they have a pre-order page on the web site.

Has anyone found any evidence that this is not a scam?

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Wired has tested it. –  Oliver_C May 31 '12 at 14:45
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btw. in the Fruit Ninja example you can see that it doesn't have pressed / not pressed equivalent. Seems like using a mouse with the button stuck in down position... –  vartec May 31 '12 at 15:07
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If anything it might be too good. When Slashdot covered it, someone commented that they didn't think it could be real because if it was, it would revolutionize some aspect of Computer Aided Manufacturing and send some companies out of business. My own worry isn't so much that it's a scam but rather it will work really well, get bought up by some PC manufacturer and then become a niche thing you can only get by buying their machines. –  Mark Allen May 31 '12 at 18:36
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@MarkAllen "If anything it might be too good" That is actually what motivated me for asking this question, it looks to good to be true –  yms May 31 '12 at 19:12
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Just in case someone wants to know, I ended up making a pre-order of this thing. I will leave a comment here if I ever actually receive it. –  yms Sep 27 '12 at 16:02
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3 Answers 3

up vote 18 down vote accepted

The word "scam" suggests fraudulence - a deliberate intention to deceive. It is a strong accusation, and we should be careful about wielding it without evidence.

Given Leap Motion claim that they will not charge until the product is shipped and that they bill via credit-card, which enables consumers and the banks to recover their money if they charge without delivering, this is not a scam.

That still leaves other options.

It may be vaporware and never get delivered. The fact they had a unit to deliver to Wired [Hat-tip Oliver.] is evidence suggesting this is not the case, but not proof that they can get the item into production as planned.

The Wired article warns:

In person, the pre-production version of the Leap is as impressive as the demo video. Once we have the production model in our hands, we’ll be able to determine if Leap Motion transfers all the magic of its demo unit into the final shipping product.

Another risk is that the actual device may not work as well as the advertising has suggested. It may not be as game-changing as hyped. For example, Wired warns:

without something concrete to place one’s hands and fingers on, there’s the potential for fatigue after using the system for an entire day

In fact, this is a well-known limitation to human (primate?) physiology that has been understood for decades:

Jargon File for "Gorilla Arm"

The side-effect that destroyed touch-screens as a mainstream input technology despite a promising start in the early 1980s. It seems the designers of all those spiffy touch-menu systems failed to notice that humans aren't designed to hold their arms in front of their faces making small motions. After more than a very few selections, the arm begins to feel sore, cramped, and oversized — the operator looks like a gorilla while using the touch screen and feels like one afterwards. This is now considered a classic cautionary tale to human-factors designers; “Remember the gorilla arm!” is shorthand for “How is this going to fly in real use?”.

This isn't a quality reference, so I am just using it to illustrate a point - that a "Minority Report"-style user interface may not actually be the ideal UI system for the future.

These caveats are not suggestions that the product is a scam, but that there are normal business risks in dealing with yet-to-be-released products.

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English is not my mother tongue, so sometimes I miss the "strength" or "seriousness" of some words. Thanks for your remarks. –  yms May 31 '12 at 15:26
    
I had hoped to update this to say "Look they have shipped." but so far they have only shipped out "early access" "developer units". –  Oddthinking Dec 4 '12 at 0:50
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Thanks for the update! I just requested a developer unit as well, let's see how that goes for me. –  yms Dec 5 '12 at 15:56
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No leapmotion is not a scam in the same sense that a ponzi scheme or a perpetual motion machine is a scam. Wired has tested it and found it to be a useful system.

This does not mean that leapmotion will end up being a world-beating system, or that it will even be released. There are hundreds of things that can come between a working, effective prototype and a best-selling production system that are nothing to do with being a 'scam'. There is no way to evaluate these factors at this stage.

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UPDATE 2013-Jan-21:

I just received my developer unit.

enter image description here

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Can't wait to see leap motion tags in SO :D –  Martheen Mar 2 '13 at 18:57
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