The creators of the Leap Motion controller took the stage at the South By Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas, to show off their forthcoming US$80 system and talk about its place in a world that already has the Microsoft Kinect and other similar hardware. Gizmag captured Leap's on-stage demonstration at SXSW and also went hands-on with the motion controller.

"Leap has a different vision," CEO Michael Buckwald told the crowd, noting that the Kinect and other devices like it focus on the use of gestures to control the platform.

Leap's creator and the company's Chief Technology Officer, David Holz explained that the notion behind Leap is a system that is able to understand what a user wants to be able to do, and make accomplishing that goal easier than it would be with other user interfaces.

"People should not have to learn ... sign language, effectively," added Buckwald. He said the company has sent out 12,000 devices to developers, just a fraction of the 50,000 that applied to a developers program.

The consumer product is planned for worldwide release in May at a price of $79.99, and Buckwald said it is also "very close" to being ready to embed into devices such as tablets. Leap has already announced one bundling deal with Asus in January.

I captured part of Holz' on-stage demonstration in the below video, and also wandered across the street from the Austin Convention Center where Leap has a demo tent for the public to get some hands-on time with the controller.

It's tough to get a real sense for the potential of Leap through just the few games and apps that were set up for us to use, but I can say that the precision of the device is impressive. Even the slightest movement of a thin wand translates into accurate slices across the screen while playing Fruit Ninja for example. See for yourself:

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