Gesture control will 'shake up' mobile user interfaces

Gesture controls, augmented reality and larger screen sizes will change mobile technology more fundamentally than the introduction of touch screens over recent years.

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Gesture controls, augmented reality and larger screen sizes will change mobile technology more fundamentally than the introduction of touch screens over recent years.

That was the message of mobile interface expert Christian Lindholm at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin – and where consumer products go today, enterpise products usually follow soon after..

Lindholm, the managing director of Fjord, a consultancy specialising in building mobile user interfaces, said the introduction of more sensors in devices could transform the mobile user experience by allowing control through gestures and other types of movement.

Fjord helped the BBC build the mobile version of its iPlayer, which was named the best mobile music or video service at Mobile World Congress earlier this year.

The use of gestures and movement to control phones has already started to take off. Some Nokia devices allow users to reject calls by turning them upside down, and the iPhone has a "shake to undo" capability. Another obvious way to use the technology would be to share files with a flick of the wrist or by touching devices, Lindholm said.

De facto standards for these gesture controls will eventually emerge, so tasks can be done in similar ways with different devices, according to Lindholm.

The technology will take several years to come to market, he said.

The area of gesture control could also turn into a goldmine for lawyers, however. Companies such as Nokia have started to patent gestures, according to Lindholm.

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