Four fun ways to use your hands with HP’s gesture-control laptop
The HP Envy 17 laptop can be controlled by waving your hand or flicking your wrist in front of the screen... here´s a few cool things to do with your hands while using it
Ever get tired of typing and mardy over mouse-clicking? A futuristic new laptop which seems like it's come straight from the set of Minority Report is here to answer your woes.
HP's new Envy 17 can be controlled by waving your hand or flicking your wrist in front of the screen.
The new laptop has a sensor from San Francisco firm Leap Motion built into it, so instead of clicking and tapping you can instead control it by pointing your hands and fingers at the screen like you're Tom Cruise wearing those gloves with lights in the fingertips.
The Envy tracks the movement of our hand, fingers or objects as small as a pencil thanks to a small sensor packing two cameras and three infrared LEDs positioned just above the keyboard. Leap Motion's technology has been available as an add-on for a while, but this is the first laptop that has it built in. This laptop will go beyond the parameters of the greatest HP Envy 17 on the market today.
But aside from pretending to be Chief John Anderton, here are a few of our favourite ways to use our hands while using the Envy 17…
1) Travel the world with wizardly hand movements
Google Earth becomes a completely different ball game with Leap Motion on board. You may look a bit weird standing in front of your laptop with your palm held flat in front of you, and even weirder when you begin swerving it from left to right and up and down like you're a wizard trying to put a spell on someone.
However, when the folk stood behind you see how your hand movements are taking you from outer space, over the skyscrapers of New York and down onto the city sidewalks close enough to smell the sizzling hotdogs they'll be too dumbstruck to think of a witty comment such as 'Hey Harry Potter, where's your wand?'
2) Come down from a stressful day by slicing fruit with finger swipes
Had a hard day at work? Need to de-stress? How about loading up the Fruit Ninja app and turning your fingers into the kind of cooking knives more often found in professional kitchens.
No matter how much of a nimrod your boss has been this afternoon, you'll soon forget him as your fingers dance before the screen, making on-screen apples and bananas wish they'd never been born by slicing them in mid-air. As lasers flash across the screen and your fingers flick around before it, you could be forgiven for thinking you look more like the bespectacled Potter doing battle with one of his arch enemies - and do you think he'd let 'having to do the filing again' get him down? Sorry for keeping up the Hogwarts theme, we know it isn't that good but it kind of worked at the time and now we're stuck with it.
3) Pretend to be an F1 driver just like you used to
I don't know about you but when I was a kid I used to pretend to be a racing car driver with my mates, running about with our hands stretched out before us, clutching onto an imaginary wheel. We all like having a nostalgic look back, but if you were to do this on the street these days you may get a few funny looks. However, the HP Envy 17 allows you to emulate your childhood without a cringe in sight - and what's more your hands will actually be controlling a car this time. That's right, another cool Leap Motion feature on the Envy 17 is the ability to hold your hands out in front of you to steer while playing a racing game on-screen.
p.s. we tried to find a wizardly angle for this one but it was becoming so tenuous it was stretched further than the world's largest pizza dough. Laboured is not the word.
4) Put your hands behind your head and marvel at the future
We've shown you stacks of cool things to do with your hands with the Envy 17, but how about finishing by simply putting them behind your head? Once there, sit back, relax and marvel at the technology, which has been made possible thanks to Leap Motion's teeny new micro sensor.
But soon you could also be able to play Tom Cruise in Minority Report or Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter (sorry, I know we said we'd leave it) when you're out and about. Leap says it plans to integrate the technology into smartphones and tablets in the future.
Of course, you'll have to learn how to deal with funny looks on the Tube from confused passengers. After all, how many times have you seen someone pull a tablet from their bag before theatrically moving their hand in mid-air? Console yourself by telling yourself you're ahead of the curve, and they'll all be at it next year.
The Envy 17 Leap Motion SE will cost 1095 US dollars when it goes on sale, although no UK price has yet been set. Tell us whether you think it's the future in the comments below…