Author(s): Peter Bryer
Smartphone hardware has become a numbers arms race of megapixels, processor cores and screen densities, storage capacities, body dimensions and standby times.
The experience has improved, but the basics have remained the same.
The multitouch user interface (UI) is the norm of a generation. It's complemented with voice, biometric and contextual input, but the mobile device experience hasn't reached the Hollywood visions of immersive, floating, 3D UIs.
But change is happening. Devices like those from Leap Motion are bringing non-touch, gesture-based interfaces to computing devices. They're still special, but shifts like this start as a niche.
Swiss company Fogale Sensation has developed and demonstrated a hovering input technology that enables 3D gesture input on smartphones. The company's Sensation solution allows devices to detect fingers up to five centimetres above a screen, and full hands up to 10 centimetres. Apps can use a combination of hovering gestures and touch for control — photos can be snapped without contact with the device, drones can be controlled by hand motions and tablets can be tethered to detect movement from each other.
The use of such gesturing technologies would be particularly advantageous in cars and wearable devices, where screens are either out of reach or too small for touch precision.
CCS Insight had the opportunity to try Fogale's Sensation at Mobile World Congress 2015. The technology is distinctive and has an exciting potential to alter user interfaces in devices across domains. Multihovering is a step up for devices, working with multitouch and other modes of input to optimise user experiences.
Fogale Sensation's technology could be an enabler for expanded multimodal input, supporting more natural and intuitive user interfaces. We expect to see products based the technology coming to market with the opportunity to rise above the competition.