In a move that could point to the inclusion of touch-less gestures for Chromebooks and Google Glass, Google has purchased Flutter, a company that specializes in creating software that allows devices equipped with webcams to interpret hand gestures.
Flutter itself, announced the purchase this week, and while the statement posted to the company’s website doesn’t outright declare that Google picked up the company to bring touch-less controls to its products, it does make it clear that the company doesn’t do much else.
“When we started three years ago, our dream to build a ubiquitous and power efficient gesture recognition technology was considered by many as a just “a dream”, not a real possibility. Since then, we have strived to build the best machine vision algorithms and delightful user experience.”
Essentially, Flutter creates software that allows devices with cameras and sensors to understand and interpret hand commands. A device using the company’s software algorithms, and the proper camera, could play music or adjust the volume with a flick of a user’s wrist.
Picking up this type of technology could be huge for Google. Touch-less gestures have made their way into smartphones, particularly the Samsung Galaxy S4. However, all of those implementations treat gesture navigation as a second-hand experience. Google Glass almost seems tailor-made for hand gesture support, especially since controlling early versions of the device is so cumbersome already
Flutter introduced the technology to Mac users with a dedicated Flutter app last year. Flutter says that it’ll continue to support that $4.99 application for some time. It allows users to control media playback while using iTunes, Spotify, QuickTime, Rdio and Apple’s Keynote presentation software.
Although products like the Leap Motion Controller have arrived to provide gesture support to laptop and desktop computing users, Microsoft’s Kinect for the Xbox 360 still holds the crown as the most widely adopted use of the technology. Unfortunately, it’s seen little adoption outside of the Xbox 360, mostly owing to Kinect for Windows’ laser like focus on enabling developers instead of users directly.
Microsoft will release an updated version of the Kinect along with the Xbox One. The company has confirmed plans for a next-generation Kinect for Windows sensor next year, however it’s unclear if the company’s approach to pushing the technology will change.
Users looking for Google Glass support still have a long way until the company even details the final specifications for Google Glass. The company has been completely quiet about a potential launch for the device.