Coming soon: Wave your hand to control your phone

Top-tier phone makers will use technology from Extreme Reality to let people control phones using gestures but not having to touch the phones.

Extreme Reality's touchless gesture interface software runs on a bulky Texas Instruments system for developing mobile phones, but it'll arrive on real-world models later this year.
Extreme Reality's touchless gesture interface software runs on a bulky TI system for developing mobile phones, but it'll arrive on real-world models later this year. Stephen Shankland/CNET

BARCELONA, Spain--Here's another reason besides video chat that you might want a front-facing camera on your next mobile phone: controlling it by waving your arm or moving your hand.

This type of touchless gesture interface is coming to mobile phones from top-tier handset makers this year, promised Ofer Sadka, chief technology officer of a start-up called Extreme Reality based in Herzeliya, Israel, that's commercializing the technology.

In the Texas Instruments booth at the Mobile World Congress show here, he demonstrated two variations of the gesticulation-sensitive interface being used to flip through a photo gallery. One used close-range hand gestures, including rotating a fist to zoom in and out.

The other was from several feet away--it's got an 8-meter range--and used more sweeping arm motions, an experience more akin to Microsoft's Kinect game controller.

The touchless interface could be useful for controlling devices in a car, Sadka said, where a driver might for example not want to have to focus specifically on hitting the right button.

Sadka demonstrated the technology on an Android-powered, bulky TI hardware development system, but said it'll work on conventional phones, too.

 

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