Leap Motion CEO says controller is 'missing piece' of 3D printing puzzle

Leap Motion's gesture-based controller can be used for anything from playing air drums to navigating Google Earth, but company co-founder and CEO Michael Buckwald reckons it has the potential to literally shape the future of one particular area: 3D printing.

Buckwald told TRPro that the the company is looking to "take the frustration" out of creating 3D objects on a PC, whether that's 3D printing, sculpting or otherwise.

"We were frustrated with the fact that a five-year-old can make something with Play-Doh, but it takes a professional modeler an hour to do the same thing," he said. "Our original vision for the company was creating things that are in 3D, and that's really a fundamentally missing piece of the 3D printing puzzle.

"Our Freeform sculpting app doesn't just support moulding shapes, it also supports importing 3D files, customising and then printing them."

Extended play

To extend its reach, Leap Motion struck a deal to see its controller embedded into HP's Envy 17 Leap Motion Special Edition laptop, and it's on its way to becoming integrated into keyboards and all-in-one PCs too.

Though not necessarily embedded into 3D printers themselves, Buckwald can see the controller being bundled with them in the future to capitalize on a supposed imminent 3D printing boom.

He said: "Absolutely [that may happen]. We're most passionate about democratising content creation - whether that's 3D printing, music or drawing - and those are three areas where there's most momentum right now."

Kane Fulton
Kane has been fascinated by the endless possibilities of computers since first getting his hands on an Amiga 500+ back in 1991. These days he mostly lives in realm of VR, where he's working his way into the world Paddleball rankings in Rec Room.