Smartphones started out with buttons, and then moved into a combination of buttons and touchscreens. Now most smartphones are controlled entirely with multi-touch panels that continue to evolve into more impressive pieces of tech. So what's next after we exhaust current touch panel innovations?
Microchip, a provider of microcontroller, analog and Flash-IP solutions, thinks the answer lies in gestures. The company announced its new GestIC technology yesterday that allows for non-contact gesture-based controls of devices. In essence, the user would control the functions of their smartphone by just using simple hand movements.
For a better example, here's a simple demonstration that shows what the technology is capable of:
Gesture-based control systems are nothing new, but Microchip's contributions might just be what the technology needs to enter the mainstream. The company says that its GestIC technology only uses 150 microwatts when active. Other systems wouldn't be very effective on current mobile batteries as they would take up too much power.
You're probably not going to see this technology in smartphones anytime soon. The touchscreen still has quite a long life ahead of it. Even then, gesture-based movements would only compliment the touchscreen. Microchip's technology, however, will be beneficial in computers running touch and gesture friendly operating systems like Windows 8. The technology would be welcome in professions like medicine where doctors need to refrain from foreign objects.[h/t: psfk]