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It's Touching

It’s Touching
by Gary Woods

If you’ve been wondering when you’re going to be able to control your Mac with hand gestures I found a free way to try it out. The software is called Controlair by eyesight and it controls your media player using nothing but an index finger held away from the screen.

What all this means is that you can have gesture based control over seven Mac media player apps including iTunes, Spotify, Rdio, QuickTime Player and VLC. What Controlair does is basically hijack the built-in FaceTime HD camera on your Mac and wait for users to raise their hand in the direction of the lens with a finger held upright. When the magic finger is raised a controller pops up on the screen.

The controller allows for basic playback like play/pause, previous or next track and volume up/down but really nothing else is controlled. You can see Artist and track names in the upper left corner next to an icon displaying the player currently being controlled and for all that it’s pretty cool.

The software worked best in a well-lit room and interestingly enough it worked better on my MacBook Air and not my 27” iMac. Actually the biggest issue was getting the software to recognize a raised finger at all and believe me I tried several fingers.

Overall the experience was okay and kind of entertaining and I wouldn’t mention it all except that it’s a free piece of software and if you don’t like it you don’t have to use it and can delete it from your Mac.

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors and he is a Broker/Associate at Sotheby’s International Realty