Welcome the No-Touch interface

Touch is an expression. Touch is a therapy. Touch has the power to heal self and heal every other soul around. Touch has been part of our communication system since the days of landline telephone. Now we hear that touch may go obsolete which is tough to believe, difficult to imagine and almost impossible to live without. But with the kind of technological advancement witnessed in recent times, conviction of change is the order of the day. We have seen the evolution of our telecommunication systems from a telephone box to the cordless and from pagers to mobile phones, the bulky computers’ shift to desktop and from laptops to tablets and from keyboard, keypad and mouse to touchscreens. We have also noticed the shrinkage in utilizing the whole hand for dialling numbers, to using the thumb on the keypad, and more recently just scrolling our fingers over the touchscreen devices. Researchers are now toying with other body parts to join in the fun by introducing the mother of all transitions: Touch interface to No-Touch devices.

Non-touch features have been incorporated by the new-age smartphone makers. Samsung, Asus, LG have all introduced gesture based application on their latest devices which empower users to scroll through the picture galleries, watch, pause, forward/rewind videos, and even answer a phone call by just the wave of your hand. The screen interface is designed to understand such commands. The Galaxy S4 has an in-built app Smart Scroll, which is based on eye-detection commands and have the ability to browse through web pages based on the angle at which the user tilts his/her head.

The human ear has been assigned another role, that of an interactive interface, by the researchers at Technical University of Darmstadt. The “Ear-Put” device will respond to touch, grasp, contort or swipe of the hand around the ear as these gestures will translate into input commands from the user to computers.

The palm of human hand is pitted to be the interface for the next generation mobile phone technology. Developers from the Hasso Plattner Institute are working overtime to roll out ‘The Imaginary Phone’ which will have various parts of the palm designated to perform various functions of the mobile. There are specific points for email, news, weather, messaging and just like we count on our fingers it may end up being our number pad to dial phone numbers. It will have a camera fitted on our chest to provide the interface and a Bluetooth device behind our ears to provide and receive voice commands.

Voice recognition applications have emerged as another convenient alternative to the touch interface. Smartphones, laptops and computers have seen wide-scale adoption of voice software to interact, understand and perform various tasks as for its users. Placing phone calls, typing messages and emails, getting direction can all be done through voice commands. The software is now used by auto makers for unlocking car by voice passwords and providing hands-free mobile service to the drivers.