A handy tool in the kitchen
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Margarine brand enables browser-based gesture control of YouTube cooking videos
Unilever butter-alternative brand Flora has developed a tool that could prove indispensable for a new generation of computer-aided chefs. Aptly named Handy, the browser-based tool allows cooks to start, stop and rewind YouTube videos with a simple wave of the hand, making it easier than ever to follow along with video recipes and tutorials, even when your hands are covered in sticky dough or other food you might not want spread across your keyboard.
To use Handy, simply fire up Google Chrome (the only browser currently supported), go to handybyflora.com and paste in the URL of the YouTube video you’d like to follow along with. The browser will use your computer’s camera to track your gestures: wave right to play, left to pause and left again to rewind ten seconds.
Handy also has a, ahem, convenient feature that allows users to store recipes in a virtual video cookbook of sorts, simply by creating an account. And, of course, the cookbook comes stocked with two recipes created by Flora.
The tool was developed by Lean Mean Fighting Machine, London.
Gesture control is so hot right now, and Handy uses it to create a tool that is simple, helpful and on-brand. Hard to ask for much more there. By eliminating excess baggage – complicated gestures, unnecessary features – and boiling down video control to the barest of elements, Flora has made an instantly usable tool that home cooks can use with only the briefest introduction. Any cook who has tried to follow along with a video tutorial knows the frustration of coating a computer with flour or trying to press pause with an elbow; Flora easily solves that problem once and for all.
Baking in a cookbook function is a brilliant turn as well, since it turns Handy into users' de facto archive for cooking videos. There’s no reason people using the tool wouldn’t keep their URLs there for handy reference, and the cookbook feature allows Flora to plug its product a little bit more by adding in helpful hints and tasty recipes of its own, creating some seamless brand integration.
We’d love to see Flora expand to more browsers, as well as products like Leap Motion specifically developed for gestural control. Hopefully gesture control will continue to move forward, getting better and better in the coming years. Flora and Unilever have positioned themselves nicely to piggyback on the gesture trend, and Handy is a brilliant start toward branded integration of beyond-screen control.
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