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Google’s Touch & Audio Latency Tool Is Now Open Source

April 4, 2016 - Written By Justin Diaz

Consumers these days live in an age of craving instantaneous responses and immediate reactions, and this translates into the interactions that people have with their devices too, like smartphones, tablets, laptops and other devices. While consumers should never expect the latency or “lag time” to be completely gone, each new year and more development time seems to reduce the amount of latency with these interactions a little bit more. Google has been hard at work with a tool they call Walt to measure the latency for touch and audio on Android and Chrome OS devices, and now they have just made WALT open source so other people can use it too, whether they be developers or other companies looking to better the response times for apps through touch or audio input.

Although this isn’t something that the average user is going to find a need for, it’s going to be an important tool for those who may need to study and measure the latency of say, how fast their app processes a tap on Android and feeds back the intended response to the device. The WALT Latency Timer can be found over GitHub for anyone looking to get their hands on it and start woking with it, but some other equipment is going to be required before people can get started.

According to Google’s post over on the Android Developers Blog, everything that’s needed can be picked up for under $50 which includes a microcontroller board, a laser, an accelerometer board, resistors, a clipboard, photodiodes, a TRRS connector, and foam to “hold the whole thing.” The only thing that can’t be purchased for less than $50 is the basic hobby electronic skills that you’ll need in order to build the device yourself as per the instructions on GitHub. In the event you don’t have the necessary skills to complete the device you can always have someone you know build it for you, should you actually have a need for it. While anyone that’s generally interested in messing around with the WALT Latency Timer can do so, the intention for open sourcing everything is so that latency times for touch and voice input can be improved on the devices that consumers use most, which is Google’s hope from putting the tool out there for everyone to use.

WALT Latency Timer chart