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Pre-Touch Sensing for Mobile Interaction

Posted May 4, 2016

There are a lot of ways to interact with smartphone using your fingers, tap, swipe, pinch, or long-press a touchscreen display. But Microsoft is working on another way to interact with phones, the new “pre-touch” technology can detect your fingers when they’re hovering above the screen as well as the way you’re gripping your phone to anticipate where you’re planning to place your finger. It can then bring up appropriate context menus before you even touch the display.

If you’re watching a video, a menu can pop up to let you pause, play, skip forward or back without you’re needing to first tap the screen.

If you’re holding the phone in both hands, menu items are shown on both the right and left. If you’re gripping the phone in one hand and using the other to touch the screen, the menu items are in the middle. And if you’re holding it in one and using a thumb to control, you get a stripped down set of controls on just one side of the screen.

Alternately, you can perform some actions without even touching the screen at all. For example, the video shows a web browser that highlights text or links as you move your hand over the screen.

Now, “pre-touch” sensing is still a research project and there will need to be a lot user-testing done before implementing this in a commercial product. Anyway it could be a huge potential for a future in mobile interaction.



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