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Brief Published: 26 Mar 2014

Microsoft’s No-Touch Screens


US tech giant Microsoft is developing a gesture-control function that would enable people to operate mobile phones, tablet computers and televisions from a distance – without the need to swipe.

The new technology would allow users to manipulate the device’s screen without going near it, according to chief scientist Rico Malvar. The company is also working on an electronic bracelet that can detect movements in the wearer’s fingers, so that the wearer could perform functions on a mobile phone by making pointing or flicking motions inside a pocket, for example.

Malvar also revealed the company is developing new interactive display prototypes, including a “floating display” that would create a visual illusion just above its flat monitor, which users could interact with by using cameras and motion sensors. The finished versions of these displays are expected to launch within the next five years. 

Look out for our upcoming Next Wave of Computing report, part of our ongoing coverage of this month’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, for more on advances in gestural interfaces.