Gesture controls grow up

There's a school of thought that says consumers have been secretly trained in the ways of gesture control for years. This type of interaction with our devices will only continue to become more ubiquitous.

Touch pads
Touch pads got a big boost from the launch of Windows 8. CNET

There's a school of thought that says consumers have been secretly trained in the ways of gesture control for years, starting with laptop touch pads, then smartphone screens, and even the motion-controlled Nintendo Wii. Gesture controls, whether hands-on, via a screen or input pad, or hands-off, via camera control, are now everywhere, including televisions, game consoles, and PCs.

Hands-on gesture control has moved far beyond iOS and Android devices, with an entire new operating system, Windows 8, practically built around multifinger swiping, either on a touch screen, or via one of the increasing number of oversize touch pads these systems are starting to ship with.

Motion control isn't as widespread, but support is growing. Microsoft's Kinect camera accessory for Xbox 360 still has some game support, but works best for navigating through multimedia menus with a wave of the hand. Samsung took a bold step in adding gesture (and voice) control to some of its 2102 TVs, although the implementation right now is, to be charitable, best described as "first-generation."

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About the author

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of laptops, desktops, and Windows tablets, while also writing about games, gadgets, and other topics. A former radio DJ and member of Mensa, he's written about music and technology for more than 15 years, appearing in publications including Spin, Blender, and Men's Journal.

 

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