Leap Motion: Forget mouse and keyboard. Control a PC with hand gestures.

Leap Motion Controller lets people swipe, pinch, and tap the air to control their computers.

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    A screenshot of the Leap Motion Controller promo video shows off the small size of the device.
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Every year, it seems that technology is inching humanity closer to a world like that of the Jetsons. Just today, Leap Motion announced a launch date for its long-awaited motion controller. The tiny gadget hooks up to computers (Macs or PCs) and enables the user to control the computer using only hands gestures. The tiny device will set consumers back $80.

According to the company’s blog, the Leap Motion Controller is no bigger than your iPod and 200 times more accurate than any other gesture controller currently on the market. TGDaily reports that this means the Leap Motion Controller, due out in May, will be able to capture gestures as small as 1/100  of a millimeter at 290 frames per second.

The inspiration for the Leap Motion Controller came from the founders’ frustration with 3-D modeling.

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“Molding clay took 10 seconds in real life but 30 minutes with a computer. The mouse and keyboard were simply getting in the way,” says the company blog. "Since available technology couldn't solve our problems, we created the Leap Motion controller.”

When the Leap Motion Controller is plugged into a USB port, the user can perform a variety of hand signals. Swipe to flip a page, pinch-to-zoom, and even use their hands to play games.

Leap Motion also announced an application market that will offer apps specifically designed for the Leap Motion Controller. Autodesk, Corel Painter, Cut the Rope, and a Wreck-it Ralph racing game will already be available for purchase from the store.

However, as with any new technology, developers must be on board in order to make the hardware and the software work. Airspace won’t have nearly as many apps as the Apple App Store or the Google Play marketplace, at least not for now.

The Atlantic’s Alexis C. Madrigal got a chance to try the Leap Motion Controller.

“I've played with a Leap system and I found it fun and interesting. I'm not sure it will replace your touchscreen or laptop input devices, but at $79, it seems worth trying out,” writes Mr. Madrigal.

The Leap Motion Controller will be available to users through BestBuy. Last month, CNET reported that BestBuy had acquired the exclusive launch rights to the Leap Motion Controller. Those who pre-ordered the gadget before today will receive it for the original asking price of $70 and they will be receiving it on May 13.

BestBuy.com and BestBuy stores will begin to sell the Leap Motion Controller on May 18 and 19, respectively.

For more tech news, follow Aimee on Twitter@aimee_ortiz 

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