Samsung has patented a system of cellphone and mobile device control that responds to a users gestures, not on the screen as with the multitouch iPhone but as recognised in the space around the handset. Using the cellphone’s front-mounted camera, the software recognises preset motions and translates them into on-screen control. For instance, pointing at the screen and then moving the finger could control a mouse or cursor, while rotating the wrist with the hand outstretched might flip an image or layer.
Now I’ve shouted at my phone when it’s been particularly stubborn and refused to send an SMS message or keep hold of a 3G signal, but I don’t think I’ve ever gestured at it. Unlike voice control, Samsung’s motion-based interface is going to either require two hands (one to hold, one to wave about like you’re guiding a jet in to land) or a table. That immediately limits its usefulness, and could possibly make it inconvenient or just plain embarrassing trying to use your cellphone on, say, a train.
Obviously there’s no guarantee that they will implement this in any future handsets, but considering Sony Ericsson have already included basic gesture control in some of their cellphones, this could be a move by Samsung to take control of the technology. In Sony Ericsson’s case, music playback on certain phones can be controlled by waving a hand across the device, or calls rejected in a similar fashion. However there is no direct connection between the movement of the hand and something proportionally happening on-screen, as in Samsung’s patent.