touchless_patent_0A few years ago, we were still interacting with our smartphones by pressing on keys and buttons in order to perform certain tasks. Nowadays we have phones that are able to do our bidding without us actually needing to press any buttons, just the screen itself. In fact there are even features which we can use that won’t even require us to touch the screen, although there aren’t that many phones like that at the moment.

So what’s next in smartphones? Could Project Ara be the future of smartphones? The idea of being able to swap out parts if and when we need sounds pretty cool, but in a patent filed by Microsoft, it seems that perhaps one day we might not even need to touch our phones. The patent, discovered by Patent Bolt, describes a device that will feature two cameras – a visible light camera and a depth camera.

When combined, it will allow the device to track the user or their finger and will then translate it into on-screen movement. It sounds a bit like the Kinect and it also reminds us of the Minority Report movie in which Tom Cruise’s character can interact with his computer simply by performing a set of gestures, as opposed to touching the screen directly. Of course we expect that this use could be applied to other products, such as Windows-based computers.

However it should be noted that this patent was filed for back in 2012 meaning that it’s been 2 years and we haven’t seen any products from Microsoft that uses this technology. The thing about patents is that there’s no guarantee that the companies will actually use them and turn them into actual products, but it’s still a pretty neat idea and one that we don’t mind seeing one day. What say you?

Filed in Cellphones. Read more about Microsoft and Patent.

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