Leap Motion’s new interface is quite possibly the greatest evolution in user input devices since the invention of the mouse. Based on the promo video, it appears to eliminate the primary problem of touch technology and other motion-sensing interfaces, which is that you don’t have to hold your fingers rigid, like in some of Microsoft’s PC motion technology and the movie Minority Report (more on this below). This is a vast improvement over touch technology, which is frustratingly slow and taxing on your hands and fingers if used for any extended period of time.
But will Leap Motion be the tiger that kills the mouse?
Motion interface technology (the Leap included) has one significant remaining hurdle before it supersedes the traditional mouse as the de facto interface for end-users—hand fatigue.
The traditional mouse allows you to relax your hand by resting it on the top of the mouse or desk as needed and requires relatively little effort to manipulate. Compare this to touch technology or motion sensing input devices like the Leap which force you to unconsciously tighten the muscles in your hands and fingers while keeping your arms raised and manipulating your digits into specific configurations. These body parts quickly tire and become aggravated with continued use, leading to sore joints, inflamed arthritis and tendinitis, and outright muscle fatigue and pain for regular users in the 30+ range.
So yes the Leap Motion is intuitive, and yes it has the potential to be absurdly fast and revolutionize computing interfaces for users, but what about the 30+ demographic with the market’s prime buying power?
Three things will probably occur:
- They will be too intimidated to adopt it (as in the case of older folks who are intimidated by the rapid evolution of technology period).
- They won’t be willing to give up the beloved mouse they’ve been using for two or three decades.
- They won’t be able to adopt the new technology because it isn’t physically practicable for regular use.
In the end the question isn’t so much IF the Leap Motion will kill the mouse but HOW it will accommodate the demographic with all the buying power.
So what about the 30+ers?