Skip to main content

Google Acquires Hand Gesture Tech Startup Flutter

Flutter CEO Navneet Dalal said on Wednesday that the San Francisco-based startup has been acquired by Google. Flutter developed a gesture recognition app that uses a standalone desktop webcam, or the built-in webcam of a laptop or Mac. The tech is capable of recognizing gestures from one to six feet away, and can control apps like iTunes, VLC, Spotify and more using simple hand gestures.

"When we started three years ago, our dream to build a ubiquitous and power-efficient gesture recognition technology was considered by many as just 'a dream', not a real possibility," Dalal said. "Since then, we have strived to build the best machine vision algorithms and a delightful user experience."

Google also confirmed the acquisition, stating that the company was impressed with the Flutter team's ability to design new technology based on cutting edge research. "We look forward to supporting and collaborating on their research efforts at Google," a Google spokesperson said.

The start-up was founded in 2010, and received early-stage funding from start-up incubator Y Combinator. Currently the tech isn't capable of large movements that would be required in games, meaning users are limited to simple desktop navigation. However limitation means users aren't required to purchase expensive equipment like Microsoft's own Kinect for Windows.

Back in March 2012, the company was looking into licensing out its hand gesture tech to software companies that want to integrate Flutter into their software. Now it seems that Google has plans of its own to beef up gesture navigation in the likes of Chrome, Chrome OS and Android. So far it's unknown how much Google is shelling out for the company.

"Today, we are thrilled to announce that we will be continuing our research at Google," Dalal said. "We share Google’s passion for 10x thinking, and we’re excited to add their rocket fuel to our journey. We’d like to extend a special thank you to all of our users; your feedback and evangelism inspire us every day. Flutter users will be able to continue to use the app, and stay tuned for future updates."

There's speculation that Flutter will likely be used in Google Glass, as well as the rumored Android-powered smart watch, set-top box, Nexus Q sequel and the Google TV platform.