HP Bringing Motion Control Hardware to its PCs

Dennis Faas's picture

Hardware manufacturer Hewlett-Packard (HP) plans to begin adding motion control sensors to some of its computers. Although it will initially be aimed at gamers, the motion control technology could allow for some other high-tech uses, including remote surgery.

The technology is from Leap Motion, which already produces a standalone accessory that plugs into computers. HP says it will begin bundling the accessory with some new computers shortly. It will then release computers with the technology built-in later this year.

In the long run, it's possible HP will use the technology in other devices, such as tablet computers and smartphones. However, it may be more of a challenge to fit the hardware into smaller devices.

In principle, Leap Motion works in the same way as Microsoft's Kinect system (available for both games consoles and computers): it uses cameras to detect and track body movements.

Ultra Precise Gesture Detection

Leap Motion is different, however, because it can track the movement of 10 fingers individually, each to within one-hundredth of a millimeter. This allows for far more precise gesture tracking. (Source: crn.com)

Software must be specially written to take advantage of the technology. At first, users will need to get this from a special "app store" run by Leap Motion. In the long run, HP plans to include its own software pre-installed on computers with the technology. (Source: bbc.co.uk)

It appears early applications will be aimed primarily at general consumers and could include games, media players, and new ways of using and controlling social media services.

Robotic Surgery Uses Possible

Eventually, the technology could be used for other purposes. For example, surgeons could use it to remotely control robotic equipment during an operation.

The technology could work particularly well in manufacturing, where companies set up in developing nations to take advantage of cheap, unskilled labor, but need some tasks carried out by highly-skilled professionals who don't want to move to those countries.

Because Leap Motion allows for such precise gesture tracking, it could also work for online training courses in skills that require dexterity, such as music or crafts.

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