Video: No-touch, mid-air 3D input interface for mobile devices

A lot of sophisticated, portable gadgets nowadays have a touchscreen, but what if you could operate those gadgets with your fingers – without touching the display or any part of the device itself? A research team led by Masatoshi Ishikawa, a professor at the University of Tokyo, has developed a way to operate mobile devices by moving your fingers in mid-air.

The technology is mainly based on a high-speed mini camera, which can shoot 154 pictures per second and records your fingers’ movements (vertical and horizontal), and an image-processing chip, which determines whether your fingers are moving forward or backward. The researchers says the system is especially suitable for 3D applications on mobile devices, setting it apart from other gesture-recognition technologies.

The prototype module allows users to turn the page of an e-book by flicking a finger in mid-air, for example. Move your finger towards the display, and the image on the screen expands (and vice versa). Make a circular motion, and the object displayed starts rotating, etc. etc.

The research team hopes to commercialize its technology in the near future, especially targeting makers of 3D software and 3D hardware.

Here’s a video that provides more insight: