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November 12, 2013
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John Rivera Technology Helpdesk
with John Rivera

Motion controller comes to laptop or in-car MDT

The Leap Motion Controller leverages technology from the video game world to let you control your computer with the wave of a hand

From laptops mounted in squad cars to desktop computers used for writing reports at the PD, every cop uses a computer to do their job. Most require a keyboard for character input and a mouse or touchpad to direct the cursor.

But one company has developed a device that will let you put the mouse away and issue computer commands with a hand gesture or the flick of your finger.

Leap Motion, based in Northern California, is the creator of a device called the Leap Motion Controller. It leverages technology that already exists in the video game world, where both the Wii and Xbox Kinect consoles enable the user to play certain video games using motion-capturing technology.

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You can actually grab objects on the screen to change perspective or move them around. The Leap Motion is developed to know your fingers’ various motions.

Leap on Patrol
Leap Motion boasts that you can use multi-touch inputs without actually touching anything on the computer, and further claims that the device is up to 200 times more sensitive than existing motion-control technology.

Because of this sensitivity and range, Leap Motion can be beneficial in a patrol vehicle. The officer can manipulate the MCT/MDT without taking their hands too far away from the steering wheel while driving or dealing with a suspect.

The device is relatively small: 3 inches long, ½ inch thick and about 1 inch wide. This is small in comparison to other computer peripherals and will take up hardly any room on your office desk or next to your in-car MCT/MDT.

Operating Requirements
Leap Motion connects to your computer via a Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0 port. It will not replace any of your existing peripherals and also will work without any special adapters.

The Leap Motion requires Windows 7 or 8 and 2GB of memory, and works only with specific processors. One downside is that it doesn’t appear to work with Windows XP, still the primary operating system on many current MCT/MDTs. Maybe it's time for an upgrade...

About the author

John Rivera is a Patrol Officer with the Bremerton Police Department. John’s career BPD started as a Volunteer Reserve Officer and while he volunteered his time as a reserve officer he work as Police Officer at Naval Base Kitsap. He was hired full time in 2006 and attended the Washington State Police Academy. While at the academy, John was selected as the class “Techy” to help with the technologically deficient class instructors. Before John’s law enforcement career, he gained his computer experience through earning a degree in Computer Programming and then working in the computer industry as a Network Administrator and Systems Engineer for several companies.

Contact John Rivera

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