Leap Motion controller set to unleash a wave of innovation on May 19th

Today Leap Motion announced their 3D motion sensing controller will ship on May 19th for $79.99, $10 more than what it’s been selling for presale.

I’m very intrigued by the Leap Motion controller, in large part because I think it’s high-fidelity 3D recognition capabilities will potentially unleash some highly innovative new applications. From fairly straightforward (but powerful) applications such as 3D design, art and video games to less obvious uses such as bio-authentication, the Leap Motion controller is one of those technologies that could truly become a game changer.

But it’s not just the hardware, but what the company is doing to foster innovation around it. While it’s only a startup, this hasn’t stopped Leap Motion from doing an amazing amount of investment in app developers themselves, sending out an estimated 12 thousand early units of the Leap Motion controller to app developers.

Think about that: 12 thousand beta units to developers. Assuming they have a 50% margin on their sale price of $79, that’s at least a half million dollars in just hardware, and much more when you factor in the cost of tools, training and more.

But all that said, I believe it’s well worth it and wonder why other startups, particularly in the hardware space, don’t make a similar effort.

If you’re interested in learning more about the company, I had a chance to talk to Michael Buckwald, the CEO of Leap Motion, in January. You can listen to the conversation here, where Michael tells me about the focus on app developers and some of the early fruits from that investment.