Word is that Samsung's next generation of smartphones won’t even need you to physically touch the screen. Finger gestures and hand waving will suffice. Here at Elektor.Labs we received a visit this week from the inventor of a technology that can give touchless capability today to any existing tablet or touch phone, independent of the brand.
The principle behind the OotsideBox [not OutsideBox], as explained by its inventor Jean-Noël Lefebvre is "projected capacity. An electric field projected in front of the existing touch surface is disturbed by movements of the hand. By measuring the perturbations of an oscillator caused by the movement of the user's fingers (or any object, for that matter) at several centimeters from the control surface it is possible to calculate 3D coordinates and recognize certain gestures."
Potential applications for the contactless interface are numerous, from game consoles and electronic cookbooks (have you ever tried using a tablet while cooking?) to musical instruments.
The reason for Jean-Noël's presentation at Elektor is that he wants to bring the project to the attention of the DIY community. The OotsideBox project is 100% open: Open Source and Open Hardware, based on the Arduino environment. A plug-in for the Unity game engine is already available and thanks to the proliferation of 3D printers anyone can adapt the interface to their own needs.
Jean-Noël Lefebvre plans to launch a fundraising project on Kickstarter or Indiegogo soon and he invites you to follow the project on Twitter now. To show your support just Twitter your questions and suggestions while including the hash tag #elektor.