The Inquirer-Home

Google swallows gesture recognition firm Flutter to rival Microsoft Kinect

Startup lets users control Spotify, Netflix and iTunes by flailing their arms
Thu Oct 03 2013, 11:56

STARTUP GUZZLER Google is getting into motion control, announcing today that it has bought gesture recognition technology firm Flutter.

Flutter is a San Francisco based startup with an app of the same name that is built into webcams and detects hand gestures, allowing users to control the playback of music and video with the swipe of a hand from between one and six feet away.

Flutter allows users to control their computers using a webcam

"Today, we are thrilled to announce that we will be continuing our research at Google. We share Google's passion for 10x thinking, and we're excited to add their rocket fuel to our journey," Flutter CEO Navneet Dalal said in a statement.

The Flutter app already works with popular apps such as Spotify, iTunes, Keynote, VLC Player, Quicktime, as well as Netflix, Youtube and Pandora through a Chrome web browser extension. It's uncertain what Google plans to achieve with the acquisition, but perhaps we will see gesture based technology in future Nexus or Chromebook devices. We've sent Google an email requesting comment.

Although we're not sure why Google bought Flutter yet, one thing seems certain. The acquisition can give the internet giant some muscle in a battle against rival technology giant Microsoft, which is a frontrunner in motion detection technology with its Kinect accessory to the Xbox games console.

Google's acquisition of Flutter also leads us to question whether gesture control will become a standard in the future or is merely a fad.

Korean hardware giant Samsung has pushed the concept of gesture based motion control over the past year or so, integrating it into its high end Smart TVs to replace the remote control.

HP has also pushed the concept of gesture recognition in its latest notebook lineup, featuring the gesture based Leap Motion Controller - a gadget that turns any PC with a USB port into a 3D motion activated computer - in its Envy 17 consumer notebook.

But how many people actually use gesture based motion control? We can bet that right now that number isn't many, whether that's because most cannot afford the devices that use it or merely because the familiarity of using a remote control prevails. µ


Share this:

blog comments powered by Disqus
Subscribe to INQ newsletters

Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ

INQ Poll

Happy new year!

What tech are you most looking forward to in 2015