It took years to design and build the Leap Motion Controller, and our incredible team of engineers is continually working to maximize its full potential. Over the coming weeks, you’ll meet the amazing people on our software, hardware, and web development teams – the technical wizards who work behind the scenes to bring 3D interaction to the world.
A gathering of Leap Motion’s engineering teams.
Today, we’ll introduce you to some of the people working on the Leap Motion software, which is the true magic behind the device. Earlier this week, we asked some of our software engineering team members to talk about their lives, work, and passions.
1. What’s your vision for the future?
Keith: Basically, we want to advance human-computer interface technology in every arena we encounter. The code we’re writing, and the ideas we’re exploring, will soon be a part of the daily lives of people around the world. Our goal is to push the boundaries of expectation in all areas – from scientific and technological advancement, to inspiring how companies and engineering teams will evolve in the 21st century.
2. When did you first realize the potential of a touchless interface?
Raffi: One day, I was at a shopping mall, waiting to use a floor-plan map you could navigate using a touchscreen. A kid in front of me was eating a greasy hamburger and using the touchscreen at the same time. When it was my turn, I took one look at the grime smeared all over the screen, and thought, “There must be a better way.” So it’s very important to me that we are creating an interface where you don’t have to touch anything.
3. What’s a typical day for you guys?
Keith: We’re all on the final push towards product release, so there’s a lot of intensity and excitement around here. We set an extremely high bar for entrance into this team, but once someone is in, they’re part of the family. We share lunch and dinner almost every day, we play games – Friday poker nights, math puzzles, video games, juggling.
4. What are your favorite applications for the Leap Motion Controller? What inspires you?
Keith: I’m inspired when I see people doing things that would otherwise be impossible. Thinking out of the box, in a new way which takes advantage of the immersive 3D environment.
Raffi: In general, my favorite apps are the ones that have a new form of interaction that wasn’t previously possible before our technology. They’re concrete examples of how, through continued software improvements, we can enable developers to push the boundary of human-computer interaction further and further.
James: I may be alone in this, but one of my favorite demos is the lightning hand demo built by one of our first interns, also known as the “Palpatine” demo. It’s likely a precursor to many “use the force” Leap-enabled applications to come. As for what inspires me, I’ve recently mentored students on Minecraft mods, and would like to build a Minecraft Leap Motion plugin whenever I find the time.
5. Why do you work at Leap Motion?
Raffi: I spent years working on computer graphics, and eventually I realized that the output from the computer to a human was much further along than the input from a human to the computer. Mice and keyboards – and even touchscreens – are great for the applications we’ve built around them, but they’re insufficient for creating truly immersive and intuitive 3D computing applications.
Keith: I work at Leap Motion because of the people here. We have one of the most outstanding and brilliant teams I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. This place is like a second family to me, and together I believe we can essentially do anything we set our minds to.
James: I was looking for a place where I could make a difference for humanity through technology. I traveled the world in my search, and dabbled in areas such as robotics – but when Leap Motion found me out of the blue, I was blown away. With such promise to change the world, a job where I’m continually learning and challenged, and an incredibly talented team, I knew this was the right place for me.
Keith Mertens is Leap Motion’s Mathematics Research Program Manager. Raffi Bedikian and James Donald are Software Engineers.
Our engineering team is always looking for talented people who want to change how the world interacts with technology. If you’re interested, check out our current open positions – we’d love to hear from you.