Details about the Leap Motion controller have been slowly coming out over the last few months. First the company partnered with Asus to bring its motion controller to more consumers by automatically bundling the controllers with laptops and PCs. Then it was revealed that the hotly anticipated controller would be launching exclusively at Best Buy. The one thing we didn't have though, was an actual launch date.
Leap Motion revealed Wednesday that the motion controller will start shipping to consumers on May 13th, and available for purchase at Best Best retail locations on May 19th. The controller will sell for the retail price of $79.99, plus shipping, tax and duties where applicable.
The motion controller was previously available for pre-order for $69.99, plus shipping, on Leap Motion's website, but that price will only be applied to orders that took place before February 27th. BestBuy.com will begin taking pre-orders in the U.S. on Wednesday.
“We’re honored and humbled that hundreds of thousands of people have joined Leap Motion’s global community of developers, pre-order consumers and business partners,” Leap Motion co-founder and CEO Michael Buckwald said in a statement. “We know people have been eagerly waiting, and today I’m happy to announce we’re bringing the Leap Motion Controller to the world less than a year after we introduced our technology. We’re taking the time needed to provide an incredible user experience and robust ecosystem of applications for consumers to explore the new power and magic Leap Motion brings to computing.”
The Leap Motion controller, which was first revealed in May 2012, senses a user's individual hand and finger movements so they can interact directly with their computer. It will be able to track movements to 1/100th of a millimeter with no visible lag time. It will have a 150-degree field of view, and will track individual hands, and all 10 fingers, at 290 frames per second. The Leap Motion controller measures approximately three inches long, one inch wide and 1/2 inch thick.
The controller will support operating system interactions with Windows 7 and 8, and Mac OS X 10.7 and 10.8. It also comes with access to Airspace, Leap Motion's app store where users will be able to download apps in a varitety of categories includes games, music, education, art, productivity and more.
Leap also announced some of the first apps that will be available: plug-ins for 3D design software leader Autodesk; Corel’s Painter apps; Disney Interactive’s Wreck-It Ralph: Sugar Rush Speedway racing game; top independent game maker Double Fine’s music game Dischord; The Weather Channel app; and ZeptoLab’s optimized Cut the Rope, a top casual game app.
Leap Motion says that it is continuing to to accept submissions for developers to join its program and "create new uses for the Leap Motion Controller."
The public will get its first change to try apps on the controller during the South by Southwest (SXSW) 2013 in Austin, Texas.
San Francisco-based Leap Motion was founded in 2010 by Michael Buckwald and David Holz. It is a motion-control software and hardware company that is developing 3-D motion-control and motion-sensing technology.
The company has raised $44 million to date. In 2011, when the startup was known as OcuSpec, it raised $1.3 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, SOSventures International and a number of angel investors. It then raised a $12.75 million Series A round of funding led by Highland Capital Partners in May 2012.
Last month, the company raised a $30 million Series B from existing investors.