Elliptic to Roll Out Hands Free Interface with More Flexibility than Touchless Tech

8 October 2013
Ben Logan

Ben Logan


Passionate about improving services and experiences for the people that use them.

Having already pioneered gesture-based user interfaces with the Windows 8 in 2012, Elliptic is new set to release several Android models with this type of UI in the second half of 2014.

The technology uses ultrasound, which is considered superior because a user doesn’t have to be as close to the ultrasonic sensor as an infrared one. It brings a number of advantages compared to existing touchless or hands-free interfaces – for one, ultrasonic sensors permit 3D interaction with smartphones as well as touchless interfaces.

Secondly, ultrasonic sensors are better than webcams because they can control the interface without a person having to stand directly in front of the phone, whereas webcam controllers are limited to standing in a narrow cone area for access.

In addition, ultrasonic sensors work well in the dark and in low lighting situations, plus they do not interfere with other types of sensors or affect nearby conversations.

It must be said however that as with everything, there are a few drawbacks, such as the fact that while ultrasonic sensors are relatively immune to most background noise, they may get glitchy if in the presence of nearby jets of air or hissing background noise. They also require a time delay for the transducer to receive the returned echoes before they can send out the next pulse.

Nevertheless, Elliptic’s ultrasonic user interface will be just the ticket for those looking to interact with their phones over a greater distance, and for people who desire more flexibility than existing touchless interfaces can offer. Another perk is that because Elliptic’s functionality is carried out using microphones and transducers, it doesn’t need specialised hardware to work.

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