Majic Jungle Software has released FluidTunes, a program designed to let you navigate and play your music in iTunes without touching the computer. It's an interesting idea that almost sounds it should have come from the depths of Apple itself. After all, what's next after making multi-touch available to the masses thanks to the iPhone?
FluidTunes works by using iSight to track your hand gestures as you navigate through the program. You make a side to side sweep to browse through your iTunes library in Cover Flow mode. Then, you wave at the play and pause buttons to start and stop the music.
It's an interesting concept, but the execution is rather sloppy. You need to be in a fairly well-lit room for iSight to register the gestures correctly. My first attempt at using FluidTunes was in the kitchen in full natural daylight, and it worked fairly well. It was easy to wave from side to side to browse my music. However, I kept accidentally activating the play and stop buttons. When I waved at the play and stop buttons, they didn't work. Pointing at the buttons worked better, but as I dropped my hand away, it would either activate another button or I'd accidentally scroll to another song. Using the program in poor light is even worse. My second test area was in the living room with the lights dimmed. The program wouldn't stop scrolling through my library, and nothing would activate the play and pause buttons.
FluidTunes is an interesting concept that I think has a lot of potential, but needs a bit of work. It's something that currently needs a lot of light to operate, so it wouldn't be ideal for use in situations such as controlling your music from bed before falling asleep. If Majic Jungle can fine tune the controls for use in various lighting situations, it could open up a lot of possibilities for this sort of program.
FluidTunes is a free download and runs on a Universal Binary. It requires OS X 10.4.11 or higher.
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