Since Leap Motion launch yesterday, the question I’m reading the most is about mouse-like interaction. For some reason, there’s plenty of interest in replacing our old pal for something better, faster and smarter.

How to set up Leap Motion as a mouse

Obviously, the guys at Leap Motion knew this is something people would like to see, and although initially the Leap Motion Controller was meant to replace the mouse, now it’s taken a slightly different approach. While Leap Motion can do most of the things a mouse does, it might be uncomfortable to hold your arm in the air for a prolonged time.

Touchless Leap MotionThis is the main reason why I mentioned this in my first review of Leap Motion (developer’s kit) a month ago. However, Leap Motion can still assist users with specific tasks when interacting with their computers, so if you’re smart you’ll leave some interactions to your mouse, while using your Leap to speed up others (zoom in, swipe through photos, etc.)

In order for you to set up your Leap Motion as a mouse, you’ll need to go to Airspace and download Touchless for Windows or Mac (depending on your operating system). This app works more like a plugin, so after you install it you’ll notice a small icon that’ll help you set up functionality and start using it right away.

Getting used to Leap Motion

In the past, I’ve tried to compare Leap Motion with designer tablets. If you’ve ever used one of those, you probably know it takes some time to get used to that interaction. A digital pencil on top of a surface while a pointer moves around the screen… it drove me crazy the first time. But then, you love it and it helps you work faster.

I’m not comparing usability, since Leap Motion is completely different. What I’m trying to explain is that there’s a necessary learning curve in order for you to get the best out of your newest controller. Give it a shot and you’ll soon see how the effort pays off.