The Touchless Screen: Technology of the Future

Touchscreen monitors might seem really cool, but they’re already on their way out. Several companies have already had success researching touchless screen technology that could change the way everyone uses computers.

Microsoft Kinect Puts Your Body in Motion

xbox one

Image via Flickr by Frederik Hermann

The 8th generation of video game consoles is here. What does that mean for the future of gaming? The average consumer might already have some experience with touchless technology via devices like the Xbox 360 Kinect. However, the Kinect will now be an integral part of Xbox’s upcoming console: Xbox One.

Early versions of the Kinect only worked with video games. You could swipe a sword or jump over a building, but your options were extremely limited. With the new Xbox One, users will gain much more “touchless” control. During the console’s unveiling on May 21st, 2013 it was revealed that this all-in-one entertainment system would be almost completely controlled via hand motion. Demonstrators pinched their fingers together causing the screen to zoom in on images. This was followed by a number of other small gestures that the equipment recognized.

NUIA eyeCharm Could Work With Kinect

The NUIA eyeCharm won’t come out until August, but it could make the perfect addition to the Kinect. The eyeCharm tracks the user’s eye movements to control the screen’s cursor. By pairing the eyeCharm with the Kinect, you could look at an item on the screen and use your hand to control it.

Myoelectric Armband Moves With Your Muscles

The Myoelectric armband, also called the MYO armband, attaches to the user’s forearm to feel muscle movements. It takes a little training, but users can eventually control their computers with hand gestures.

For instance, moving your hand up could cause a Web page to scroll up. Considering all of the motions the human hand can make, this device has unlimited potential, especially for people who use computers all day. It could be the end of carpal tunnel. It could also change the way people play games; for example, imagine playing online slots like you’re actually at a casino.

Control Your Computer Screen With Eye Movements

A Swedish company called Tobii has developed an eye-tracking system that lets computer users move a mouse cursor just by looking at the screen. The Tobbii Rex has infrared sensors that track eye movement. to activate the system, you look at the bottom of the screen. After that, the cursor will follow your eye movement.

It’s similar to the eyeCharm. Since neither item has been released yet, though, no one knows whether one works better than the other. This system still needs you to click a touchpad to select items, but it’s a really cool innovation leading up to touchless screen technology.

Touchless Technology With Ultrasound

Elliptic Labs has taken a different approach. Instead of watching your movements, its Windows 8 Gesture Suite uses ultrasound to track hand movements. Eventually, the system will work on tablets and cars as well as laptop computers.

Since the system relies on ultrasound, it needs speakers and microphones. The company says that users will get the best results with eight mics and six speakers. The ones built into your computer should work reasonably well, though. Unfortunately, this ultrasound tech isn’t available to consumers yet because Elliptic Labs is focused on marketing the product to companies.

Do you think touchless screen technology offers enough benefits to attract consumers? Most of the products have fairly affordable prices, but they ask people to use computers in a whole new way. Are you willing to make those adjustments?