There are a variety of neat third-party devices to help you use Google Earth, but for me nothing has been greater than the 3DConnexion SpaceNavigator. It’s a simple device, but packs a lot of power and control. I’ve used a variety of control devices over the years and nothing has even come close to the control I can get with it.
The next potentially great device is coming soon from Leap Motion. It’s a gesture-based controller that they claim is “200 times more accurate than anything else on the market”. Based on the videos they’ve produced, that seems entirely possible.
In the video above, around the 20 second mark, you’ll see them using the controller to control a digital map (Bing Maps in this case, I believe). It seems likely that it could be configured to control Google Earth as well. But will be a superior way to move around?
My concern is that it may be similar to the Sandio 3D Mouse that I reviewed five years ago, in that it could be difficult to perform more than one action at a time. With the space navigator I can pan while diving while rotating in one fluid movement. That could get complicated with hand gestures. I’ll be very curious to see how that works out.
The Leap Motion isn’t for sale yet, but you can pre-order one on their site for $69.99 with the promise of it shipping in “early 2013”. My pre-order is in, and I’ll certainly write up a full review once I get a chance to play with it.
Have you pre-ordered one yet? Do you think it will be a nice addition to your computer, or just another gimmick?