Want to impress your friends and/or have them accuse you of witchery? Well, if you own an Apple computer, you're in luck, because a new free app for Mac allows you to stop and start your music by just holding up your hand in front of your webcam.
The app is called Flutter, and it's available for download in Alpha mode right now at Flutter.io. As of now, Flutter has one use and one use only: Pausing and playing songs on iTunes and Spotify. Check out a brief demo video below:
Flutter does require that your webcam be turned on in order to work, which is a potential drain on the battery; if you're fidgety, move around a lot, or are an animated talker, you might accidentally trigger Flutter's pause or play function; I did just that while scratching my mustache this morning.
Also, if you are using Flutter on a work computer, your colleagues might ask why you are constantly raising your hand, and think that you're weird.
"Stop raising your hand all the time," they'll say. But you won't hear them, because your music will be playing.
Yes, Flutter is fun, and though it currently has limited functionality, it is at least neat enough for a free download, if only to see how gesture-based control of your technology might work in the near future. Steven Levy at Wired writes that Flutter's founders think the "sky's the limit" for the number of gestural controls that could be integrated in future updates; it's probably worth the space on your computer just to see what the team comes up with next.
Gesture technology is such an exciting field of computing because no one is quite sure what the next generation of operating system is going to look like. There are so many different, innovative ideas out there: You might be familiar, for example, with all of the many different prototypes of touch-less computers that Microsoft's experimental Research Labs have shown off in short videos on YouTube; many of those use technology from the Xbox Kinect, which allows users to control the screen using movements and gestures. We've previously covered a company called MicroVision, which can turn any computer or smartphone projection into a surface that can be manipulated without touch, as well as Tobii, which unveiled a version of Windows 8 that you can control using your eyeballs as the mouse. Companies like Samsung showed off gesture-controlled televisions at the Consumer Electronics Show this year and have made these TVs available for sale now; PC or laptop gesture-control, meanwhile, remains a relatively untapped, liquid market.
Flutter wants to have a say that, making its early-version app available for download here (it's free but for the price of your email). With both Microsoft and Apple working on 3D gesture recognition for upcoming devices, Flutter, and its touch-less control of the Mac, just might represent a wave of the future.
Also on HuffPost:
Now you can become "invisible." <a href="http://mashable.com/2011/04/14/xbox-kinect-hacks/#4qhXQ_1CQjg" target="_hplink">Mashable</a> writes, "
On April Fool's day, Google introduced a phony new feature called <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/01/googles-april-fools-day-joke-gmail-motion_n_843449.html" target="_hplink">Gmail Motion</a>, which would supposedly let users control their inbox without using a mouse or keyboard. A week later, USC's Institute for Creative Technologies <a href="http://www.switched.com/2011/04/04/kinect-makes-gmail-motion-april-fools-prank-a-reality/" target="_hplink">brought the joke to life</a>.
<a href="http://www.geek.com/articles/games/kinect-hack-makes-awesome-digital-shadow-puppet-show-possible-20101119/" target="_hplink">Emily Gobeille and Theo Watson</a> use the Kinect to track the motions of their arms and fingers as they mime shadow puppets in front of the sensor. A 3D character is projected that mimics the puppet's motions and comes to life.
YouTube user <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CTJL5lUjHg" target="_hplink">Yankeyan</a> has created an interactive version of Nintendo's beloved "Super Mario Brothers" that accepts input from full-body motions. The game is quite a workout, Yankeyan explains on his YouTube page. "Mario isn't designed to be played like this, so this is really really hard," he says.
One of the earliest Kinect hackers, computer scientist <a href="http://idav.ucdavis.edu/~okreylos/ResDev/Kinect/index.html" target="_hplink">Oliver Kreylos</a> modified his Kinect to display a <a href="http://idav.ucdavis.edu/~okreylos/ResDev/Kinect/index.html" target="_hplink">hologram-like image</a> he could control from his computer.
Combining a Kinect sensor with a programmable iRobot cleaning device, MIT student <a href="http://singularityhub.com/2010/11/17/hacked-irobot-uses-xbox-kinect-to-see-the-world-obey-your-commands-video" target="_hplink">Philipp Robbel</a> was able to create a device that creates a 3D map of its surrounds and can recognize humans and respond to certain gestures. Robbel hopes that his <a href="http://singularityhub.com/2010/11/17/hacked-irobot-uses-xbox-kinect-to-see-the-world-obey-your-commands-video" target="_hplink">KinectBot</a> creation may be used to help locate and bring aid to people in disaster situation.
Created by graduate students in Germany, the wearable <a href="http://www.immersivetech.org/academic/kinect-to-help-the-blind-see-in-augmented-reality/" target="_hplink">Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired</a> (NAVI) system uses infrared data about the surrounding area and converts it into audio information that guides the visually impaired person. The NAVI issues a warning countdown when the wearer approaches an obstacle like a door.
Surgeons at Johns Hopkins University control a <a href="http://medgadget.com/2011/02/kinect_3d_gaming_camera_used_to_control_da_vinci_surgical_robot.html" target="_hplink">da Vinci surgical robot via Kinect</a>, allowing the user to perform gesture-based incisions from a distance. [via <a href="http://xboxkinecthub.com/hacks/top-10-best-kinect-hacks/" target="_hplink">Xbox Kinect Hub</a>]
nitrogen.posterous.com In this video you'll see my latest Kinect software, a web interface for configuring the Kinect for home automation. You'll also see, for the first time ever, my own home automation software. See a more complete description on my blog, linked above.
With the HTML5 though, the Kinect Automated Home Lighting software can be used and viewed in the web browser. This development makes it more convenient to users who may want to view the status of their home lighting through the web. This also poses the possibility of manipulating the lights through one’s browser. http://www.kinecthacks.com/kinect-home-lighting-now-on-htlm5/
This Kinect hack gives you x-ray specs--sort of--by allowing you to "see" through your body. <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/04/magic-mirror-kinect-hack-puts-an-x-ray-spin-on-augmented-reality/" target="_hplink">Engadget</a> writes, "Of course...it doesn't actually peer through your body to reveal your skeleton (yet), but instead maps a random skeleton from a CT scan onto your frame to create a real-time freakout."
The room lights up if human presence is detected and dims down if there is no one present. With the HTML5 though, the Kinect Automated Home Lighting software can be used and viewed in the web browser. This is our Top 1 choice at http://www.kinecthacks.com/top-10-best-kinect-hacks/