ControlAir is a free Mac OS X app that uses your FaceTime camera to track finger movements. With it you can control iTunes, and other apps, using hand recognition. Take a look at how to set up ControlAir on your Mac.
By Lou Hattersley
MacworldFEB 20, 2015 9:00 am PST
Gesture recognition offers a fascinating new aspect to controlling your Mac. Instead of using the traditional keyboard and mouse to control your computer, you can just wave your hands around.
Controlling a Mac using hand gestures has long been the stuff of science fiction, the most memorable occasion being the movie Minority Report, where
Chief John Anderton (played by Tom Cruise) controls a computer by deftly moving his hands around in a 3D space.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could control a Mac just like that? Well, we may not be quite as advanced as that quite yet, but there is some interesting work being done to match up your hand gestures (captured by the FaceTime camera on your Mac) with app control.
One app called
ControlAir has been developed by
EyeSight Tech. ControlAir enables you to control iTunes (and other audio apps) in Mac OS X by holding a finger in the air and making an in-air click gesture.
It took us a few attempts to get them to appear the first time. You raise a finger in the air to activate the ControlAir on-screen controls. These appear over the main desktop. Moving your hand left and right chooses the different buttons on the screen. To select a button you close your index finger down, in a sort of beckoning movement.
ControlAir works with the following apps:
While ControlAir is interesting, it doesn’t take us into ‘Tom Cruise in Minority Report‘ territory just yet. But it is an interesting use of the FaceTime camera to recognise finger gestures.
More options for gesture control
If you’re interested in a more advanced kind of hand-gesture control for the Mac, then work continues on the
Leap Motion Controller, which you can buy for £59.99. Leap tracks your fingers in 3D space, but it doesn’t make use of the iSight camera. Leap is also fairly inconsistent – and of course it’s not free, so you might want to play around with ControlAir first.
While you might find ControlAir limited, we’re optimistic about the developments going on in this area; we’re sure that, in the near future, hand gesture controls will be combined with Siri-like voice recognition (along with other input methods like multi-touch) to create new ways for us to interact with technology. ControlAir is an interesting concept that could herald greater things to come.