Waves, snaps and tomorrow’s home search

Flutter is a neat little app for your Mac. It’s in Alpha, so don’t expect too much.

Basically, it lets you control your Spotify or iTunes music player with a single, simple gesture. Wave your hand in front of your notebook’s camera and your music starts playing. Wave it again and the music stops.

Not much to it, right? But, really, it’s pretty eye-opening.

If you’re like me, you’ve grown up around computers. We’ve all become comfortable with their traditional input methods: GUIs and mice, command lines and keyboards. It’s second nature.

But I’m beginning to feel like we’re entering into the twilight years of those paradigms.

We have witnessed an explosion of new UI options over the last few years: multi-touch, voice, and now gestural. Most of these we have yet to fully exploit on the net.

We know how to build for the known universe. But Flutter shows us what you can do if you just stop, get off the field, and change the game altogether.

How we got here

It’s a natural progression, really. If you stop to think about it, nearly every computing device we buy these days is packed full of sensors.

Just like us, they come equipped with eyes (cameras), ears (microphones) and mouths (speakers). They know where they are (through GPS or WiFi location awareness) and can connect to waZ dvand command each other wirelessly (through Bluetooth). They are connected to a giant brain (the Internet) and even possess a rough capacity for understanding (voice recognition software).

Where I’m driving at is that you might not have realized it, but the device on which you are reading this blog post is a pretty darn smart device.

We just haven’t tapped its full potential.

A world of possibilities

Companies in real estate are just starting to scratch the surface. Trulia recently integrated voice search into their product, for example.

Others, like Sawbuck, are making use of location data and creating new experiences for the user.

Gestural recognition apps like Flutter are infants yet to emerge from the cradle. But I have to think that somewhere out there someone’s hacked up a Microsoft Kinect sensor to a home search database.

In any case, I believe we’re on the cusp of new and very different ways of interacting with our machines. And that’s exciting.

[Waves hand, starts music]