Nokia S60 Touch UI Patent Includes 3D Touchless Control

Details of a patent filed by Nokia in June of last year are now surfacing and it looks like Nokia’s upcoming S60 Touch has the potential to be a whole lot more than just “touch”. Of course companies file patents all the time and it doesn’t necessarily mean that the concepts within will materialize, but a combination of touchless-touch (gestures) and multi-touch sounds like a pretty strong cocktail. Some of the basic touch commands outlined in the document are cool in and of themselves; clockwise and counter-clockwise circles to scroll up or down respectively, draw an ‘X’ with your finger to delete, draw a check with your finger to accept, etc. There are also advanced multi-touch commands; for example touch and hold one finger on an item to pop up a sub-menu and then (while still holding) draw circles with another finger to scroll through the sub-menu. What is more impressive than the aforementioned touch control however, is the touchless control. Nokia’s patent calls for a series of Ultrasonic Transducers (USTs) to be dispersed around the device’s display. These USTs use ultrasonic sound wave reflections to detect and record motion within a certain proximity of the device. So for example, the gesture defined within Nokia’s patent to select an object is to slowly ‘pinch’ it by placing one finger on the top or corner of an object, then slowly move a second finger up to the bottom of the object. Very cool stuff indeed, but this gesture-based control surely won’t make it into the initial S60 Touch release that is due later this year. Some day in the next few years though, people on the street might stop and stare as you waive frantically at your device in an attempt to keep Nokia’s Snake from running into its tail.


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