San Francisco-based Leap Motion has announced their first retail partnership, agreeing to team up with Best Buy as part of an exclusive launch deal starting next month. Best Buy will begin taking pre-orders in store and online for the Leap which should go on sale sometime later this year.
In order to secure the exclusive launch deal, Best Buy had to agree to make the Leap available in all of their stores. Furthermore, the device must be placed in prominent locations alongside a video display which we assume will be used to tell interested consumers more about it.
If you are unfamiliar, Leap's system is like a Kinect on steroids. The system creates a three-dimensional interaction space roughly four cubic feet in size. In this space, the system can recognize a wealth of different gestures with surprising accuracy. In fact, the company says it is more than 200 times more accurate than Microsoft's motion-sensing gaming accessory.
The magic of making it all happen doesn't come from the hardware as much as the software. CTO David Holz noted during the products announcement that they were able to resolve a number of algorithmic and mathematical problem that had not been solved or were considered unsolvable.
Leap Motion recently close a B round of funding that brought in $30 million in addition to announcing an agreement to ship their device alongside select Asus notebooks. The Leap should be available for retail purchase this spring for around $70 - far cheaper than Microsoft's Kinect.