Leap Motion with Windows 8 and Fedora 17 (Linux) – some experiences

As you might already know, the Leap Motion is an input device for Windows, Mac and Linux systems. Once it is connected to a computer, it creates a space in your room in which it will recognize all your fingers and their movements.

It is very similar to the Microsoft Kinect; however, the Leap Motion is considered as more accurate, efficent and smaller.

I was surprised to see that the device is much smaller than I expected, but I liked it. After unboxing it, I connected it with my Windows 8 notebook. I had to install a software package and activate a specific app; afterwards, I was able to use the Leap Motion as a replacement for my mouse. It’s really cool but still needs some improvements. The input with your movements definitely needs some practice and is not very smooth when you start using the Leap. I found it hard to scroll (e.g. websites), but after an hour or so I was able to use Google Maps (website). Especially the zooming part is really well designed and it turns out that using the simplest things on Windows 8 can be quite fun.

Well, so far for the Windows part. Officially, the Leap Motion only ships with Windows and Macintosh support. You will have to create a developer account for downloading the Linux software. It is still a SDK bundle, the Debian packages with the drivers/apps are only one part of it.

I installed the software package on my Fedora 17 notebook. While I was not able to use the Leap Motion like a mouse, I at least managed to run some sandbox apps which allow the Leap Motion to be an input device. Still, using those apps was awesome.

As soon as I have time, I will create another blog post which covers the part “installing Leap motion software on Linux”. Until then, I recommend to use Google, there are already some tutorials existing which will guide you well through the necessary steps.

When I would be asked if the Leap Motion would be an immediate mouse replacement I would reply: No, not at all. However, It can be used as an additional input device, allowing it slowly to get used to another forms of input instead of using keyboard and mouse only. And who knows – in a couple of years the Leap Motion could be something like a default input device for new computers in your trusted electronic store.