From touching pin pads at the grocery store to interacting with information kiosks and airport check-ins, physical interactions have a limited shelf-life. Hand tracking and gesture recognition technology is powering intuitive interaction in today’s digital age, and the outbreak of the coronavirus worldwide is accelerating the already high demand for touchfree controls as a must-have feature for digital systems.
As it becomes mandatory to avoid physical interactions, we realize how contact through devices has been an integral part of day to day productivity and socialization. It means that touch-based interactions via smartphones, tablets, laptops, wearables, booths, kiosks and smart devices will quickly evolve towards touchless interfaces. In the automotive industry, for example, manufacturers have prioritized gesture controls for smart interfaces as voice recognition works well for simple tasks, but has a high error rate with mumbling, ambient noise, accents and slang. On the other hand, gestures are a universal language that is powering today’s touchfree revolution as a tool for safety, convenience, and accessibility.
When the first experiments began with the typewriter and QWERTY keyboard in 1872, it would set the course for how we could interact with devices for more than a century to come. QWERTY was designed to slow down the speed at which we could type to prevent mechanical jams, and touchscreens, keypads, and controllers still use the same method in various forms. We’ve all used the Apple TV pointer, for example, to meticulously type out usernames and passwords. Today, computer vision and machine learning can read our natural gestures, and alleviate this tension in digital interactivity. In addition to convenience, touchfree controls are also more crucial than ever before to facilitate universal and safe interactivity for all as health concerns are shared across the globe.
Gesture control won’t only replace physical based interactions, but will also open up new possibilities for remote collaboration, entertainment and education. Today, executives are actively searching for augmented reality telepresence solutions, engineers are studying and interacting with models in virtual reality, and service workers and customers alike are struggling to maintain social distancing while performing crucial tasks. Air gestures will power the ability for users to interact with virtual 3D objects and models as if they were real and minimize the need for physical contact with publicly shared devices.
Hand-tracking and gesture recognition has also long been recognized as a necessary safety measure in the automotive industry. BMW and VW, for example, use hand tracking and gesture recognition for entertainment and navigation shortcuts, with more features still to come. Keeping a drivers’ eyes on the road is a safety first priority, and secondly, offers a premium and seamless experience.
Air gesture technology is designing a safer world for everyone and paving the way for us to once again naturally engage with the world around us, free from touchscreens and controllers. Here at Clay AIR, we have the will and capacity to contribute to shaping new touchfree interactions for a safer and more accessible world.