At last! Hand gestures can control Google Glass

A company called On The Go Platforms is enabling Glass users to control their apps with gestures. Because we don't already have enough hand gestures on our streets.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

No, he's not waving to you. He's waving to himself. On The Go Platforms. Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I sometimes walk the streets, talking to myself.

I get a few pitying looks, but no one really bothers me. Soon, though, I fear they will. Because soon there'll be all sorts of people wandering down streets, constantly muttering, "OK Glass."

This will clearly disturb most of society and be the source of increasingly difficult human relations.

Perhaps it's with this scenario in mind that the large minds at On The Go Platforms decided to create a product that allows you to make hand gestures to operate your Google Glass apps.

Indeed, On The Go has named its new SDK after one of the world's great conciliators, Ari Gold of "Entourage." I've slightly made that part up, but it is actually called Ari (Augmented Reality Interface).

Ari will help developers introduce several different hand gestures. In the first instance, there will be swipe left, swipe right, open hand, and closed hand.

The beauty of the this idea, according to its makers, is that any hand gesture can be tied to any action the developer might choose.

Which led me to the question: "ANY gesture?" I asked On The Go CEO Ryan Fink whether he might envisage, one day, Glass-wearers offering a middle digit to log on to Facebook. Or perhaps a gang sign to take a photo.

He saw where I might be going with this and offered a very measured, but tantalizing response: "We do have the ability to create any gesture, but we're only releasing a small gesture set at this time. There will be more gestures added in the near future."

He added: "Right now our gestures can control the basic functions of smart glasses, but in a new interface. Next, we'll begin releasing more gestures (like thumbs up, peace sign, etc) and motion tracking (like in the demo where I play Fruit Ninja)."

Oh, I can just imagine Glass-wearing forward-thinkers wandering the streets of Williamson County, Tenn., or Forsyth County, Ga., offering peace signs. That would be worth filming.

Though I'm sure this is a fine and worthy product, you, like I, can surely see the potential for urban strife and rural rioting.

If developers can ultimately create all sorts of bizarre hand gestures, Glass wearers truly will look (even more) like borgs from another life. They might be flailing their arms up and down and round and round, and who knows what misunderstandings might occur.

I asked Fink whether he was concerned that there was something of a backlash against Glass. (Ari actually works with any Android-powered smart glasses.)

He told me: "When the iPhone first came out it received a huge backlash. History repeats itself. We already have traction from some major companies in the Industrial, Medical, AR, and Fitness spaces."

I don't actually recall the iPhone causing fights in bars, but perhaps history may have taken on a Vaseline glow.

Still, I asked Fink whether there was anything he'd prefer his company's creation not to be used for. I wondered, for example, whether he could imagine Glass-wearers making hand-gestures in flagrante to access one app or another.

He replied: "We're developing a small set of intuitive gestures. If a user wants to [flail] about they won't be doing any of our gestures, they may be playing a Kinect. :)"

So there you have it. One small step for mankind. One large hand gesture for the Glass-wearer.