Entrepreneur

Founders Fund and SOSventures launch startup accelerator for Leap Motion’s gesture tech

Above: Elon Musk utilizes Leap Motion technology to build rockets for his company, SpaceX

Image Credit: http://hight3ch.com/elon-musk-wants-to-design-rockets-like-iron-man/

Founders Fund and SOSventures have joined to launch Leap Axlr8r –– a startup accelerator for companies building on Leap Motion, the gesture-based technology that’s dictating the future of 3D human computer interaction.

Leap Motion is an $80 device that enables people to interact with technology through natural human motion rather than screens, keyboards, mice, and consoles. According to Arvind Gupta, founder of Leap Axlr8r and partner at SOSventures,  it’s 200 times more precise than Microsoft Kinect — it can sense movement through bones.

Elon Musk is using Leap Motion to design SpaceX rockets and called it “a breakthrough in sensor technology” in his new video, “The Future of Design.” Founders Fund principal Scott Noal says it will be an integral part of computing’s future, fundamentally altering how we interface with computers.

Building startups for the Internet of things

With the Internet of things, we will see more objects equipped with sensor technology. Leap Motion-based products are poised to be the connective link that enables users to effortlessly control the world around them through gestures, rather than by manipulating  individual apps for each sensor.

The SOSventures team provided a basic example of how Leap Motion startups might impact our everyday lives: In order to lower a window shade, we would manually point to a window and our lower finger, tracking the shade until it closes.

The Leap Axlr8r admissions panel has already seen applications for health care and believe Leap Motion would be an ideal pairing with Famo.us, the first 3D javascript framework that launched this past fall.

Given the promise of this technology, Highland Capital Partners designated $25m for “The Leap Fund,” reserved for startups that “transform how we interact with the world around us.”

Elite UI mentors from Iron Man, Autodesk, IDEO, and Square

Leap Axlr8r provides 10 startups with $25,000 each and mentorship from 25 big names in user interaction, including:

  • Philip Rosedale, the creator of Second Life
  • Dav Rauch, the UX lead for films like Iron Man, Avatar, and The Hunger Games
  • Carl Bass, the CEO of Autodesk
  • David Blakely, the CTO of IDEO
  • Erik Moga, the global insights lead at Square

Teams will share office space with Leap Motion, which is offering up a group of its engineers to support startups’ product development. To date, the accelerator has allocated $500,000 to fund these companies.

Gupta sees this program becoming the nexus of a forward-thinking community exploring the edges of what is possible in interaction design. We spoke about how fragrance would influence interaction design and opportunities for incorporating technology beyond Leap Motion into new product road maps. One Leap Axlr8r applicant combined Leap Motion with Emotiv, the neuroheadset, and Arvind is keen to see more integrations of this kind.

Interested in building the future of 3D human computer interaction? Leap Axlr8r is accepting applications through mid-December.

More information:

Founders Fund is a San Francisco based venture capital firm which invests at every stage in companies with revolutionary technologies. The firm’s six partners, Peter Thiel, Sean Parker, Ken Howery, Luke Nosek, Bruce Gibney, and Brian... read more »

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