FluidTunes is an interesting new free app from Majic Jungle Software. The idea is that you can move between tracks in your iTunes library by waving your hands at the screen. Your waving is picked up by the Mac’s built-in camera, and FluidTunes analyses the image to work out what you want to do.
Unfortunately the reality doesn’t quite live up to the promise. I was envisaging some sort of background app that detected right-to-left swipes across the screen to quickly advance to the next track, and left-to-right swipes to go to the previous track (and possibly top-to-bottom to pause, and so on). This would have been both cool and futuristic, and genuinely useful to boot.
In practice, you have to switch to the app in order to use it (which hardly makes it quick to use), and you then have to look at an image of your hand in the app window, guide your hand to a button, then shake it about a bit to activate the button. By which time you might as well have switched to iTunes and clicked the track skip buttons (or, for that matter, hit a key combo using the excellent SizzlingKeys).
You can also swipe through the list of tracks Cover Flow-style, though it shows each track as a separate image rather than grouping by album, which makes the list massive, and it’s quite hard to locate an individual track. What’s more, if you move from the “next track” button to the “play” button to play the track, you sometimes end up inadvertently swiping through about 50 tracks as you go.
So not much practical use, but a cool tech demo, and a taste of gesture-based interfaces to come. Using the camera to read your gestures is a great idea, especially as practically all Macs now have some sort of built-in camera. It’ll be interesting to see how this idea develops over time. Could this be a viable alternative to multi-touch displays?
Anyway, the app’s free, so download it and see what you think!