Tapped Out? Moving Toward a No-Touch Future

With advances in sensors and cameras, no-touch interfaces and devices will continue to be further integrated into daily life.

Smartphones such as the Pantech Perception and the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4 are the latest devices to incorporate touchless features, with each device enabling users to browse through picture galleries or answer a phone call by just waving a hand over the smartphone screen. The Galaxy S4 also has Smart Scroll, which detects eyes and scrolls web pages based on the angle the user tilts his or her head.

Many smartphone users are already familiar with no-touch technology thanks to the wide adoption of voice recognition software in wireless devices. Smartphone users use apps like Google Now on Android and Siri on iOS for hands-free access to endless information. And now, Google Chrome has added voice recognition to its latest version, enabling features like email dictation. This technology is also being incorporated into automobiles to allow for a hands-free mobile experience for drivers.

Gesture technology is also featured in products like Kinect for Xbox. To expand this functionality to computers, Kinect for Windows was created and uses software and sensors. One app for Kinect for Windows allows surgeons to use gestures to control medical images and scans on computers, eliminating time lost when using unsterilized computers then having to scrub up again. Intel has developed a gesture-sensing device using conventional and infrared cameras, microphones and software to enable apps on computers to track a person’s fingers, recognize faces, infer emotions and interpret words spoken in nine languages.

However, this is just the beginning. Mobile voice interfaces will soon be even more commonplace allowing users to talk to a device without touching it first. 

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