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Microsoft could introduce Touchless Input in future Surface devices

Microsoft's Touchless Input tech could be introduced for Surface laptops, smartphones and tablets. (Source: Techbox)
Microsoft's Touchless Input tech could be introduced for Surface laptops, smartphones and tablets. (Source: Techbox)
While Appe's latest handheld devices include pseudo-touchless capabilities via the TrueDepth 3D camera system, it still requires touch sensors for the display itself. Microsoft's newly approved patent does away with the display sensors and relies only on depth map imaging to calculate the cursor position and hand gestures.
Bogdan Solca,
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Remember those holographic touchless screens from Minority Report or the transparent touchless displays from Avatar? Would it not be cool to get something similar at least for handheld devices? It turns out that Microsoft is already working on something in this vein and it could be integrated in the upcoming Surface devices.

Microsoft’s Touchless Input patent that was filed back in 2016 and just got approved on July 10 reveals a technology not unlike Nokia’s project McLaren, which has never made it to a consumer device, unfortunately. The new Touchless Input approach takes some queues from Apple’s TrueDepth Camera tech featured in the iPhone X. While Apple already provides a pseudo-touchless interaction in its latest devices, the screen itself still requires touch sensors. Here is how Microsoft’s true touchless tech is supposed to work:

“A tracking system including a depth camera and/or other source is used to receive one or more depth maps imaging a scene including one or more human subjects. Pixels in the one or more depth maps are analyzed to identify non-static pixels having a shallowest depth. The position of the non-static pixel(s) is then mapped to a cursor position. In this way, the position of a pointed finger can be used to control the position of a cursor on a display device. Touchless input may also be received and interpreted to control cursor operations and multitouch gestures.”

The Touchless Input technology could be featured in the next Surface device from Microsoft, but the latest word on the street is that it will not be released this year.

Schematics on how the finger movement is calculated based on depth maps (Source: Patently Apple)
Schematics on how the finger movement is calculated based on depth maps (Source: Patently Apple)

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Bogdan Solca
Bogdan Solca - Senior Tech Writer - 1532 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2017
I first stepped into the wondrous IT&C world when I was around seven years old. I was instantly fascinated by computerized graphics, whether they were from games or 3D applications like 3D Max. I'm also an avid reader of science fiction, an astrophysics aficionado, and a crypto geek. I started writing PC-related articles for Softpedia and a few blogs back in 2006. I joined the Notebookcheck team in the summer of 2017 and am currently a senior tech writer mostly covering processor, GPU, and laptop news.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 07 > Microsoft could introduce Touchless Input in future Surface devices
Bogdan Solca, 2018-07-16 (Update: 2018-07-16)