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Microsoft shows how 3D sensing will work on smartphones

Microsoft demonstrates touchless gesture controls on a prototype smartphone using an electric field

In a concept video demonstrating the use of 3D sensing technology, Microsoft shows how 3D sensing would work on a smartphone. With the rumored Microsoft Mobile, formerly Nokia, McLaren smartphone anticipated to have 3D gesture tech to allow a user to interact with the touchscreen without even touching the display, this technology could appear on this or future Windows Phone models. Check out the YouTube video demo after the break to see this innovative and exciting tech in action.

Microsoft is able to achieve touch-less interaction by using an electric field sensing tech. This allows for 3D finger tracking as well as in-air gestures.

Are you excited about this technology coming to Windows Phone?

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Reader comments

Microsoft shows how 3D sensing will work on smartphones

114 Comments

In Europe the Oy was removed too. It made no sense to have the Ltd. in the name of the developer, honestly. It's bad enough that MM is taking credit from something they didn't do.

Um... Didn't Microsoft Research come up with this? Besides, "they" did come up with it since this work was purchased. If you say that, then Apple shouldn't get any credit for Siri, since they bought Siri. Is this Nokia obsession the only thing you post about?

Kinda, if you're using a touch surface. If you're using a computer mouse, the cursor will not be steady because your hand naturally shakes, and there's no clicking.

Microsoft Mobile is the name of the company that was created, separate from Microsoft itself, to receive the ex-Nokia employees that left Nokia when the sale of the D&S division closed.

MS could merge the RT and WP into Microsoft Mobile OS which supports 4" - 8" devices (Phone, Phablet and Tablet).

Same here, now that I got an idea how the technology works. Man, there is a lot they will be able to do with this if they just take advantage of it to its fullest within the software. Gonna be interesting to see what they come up with.

That's really really interesting. McLaren, You got my complete undivided attention ! ... Well, 95% of it, gotta save some for the upcoming HTC :p.

"Look Mom, I'M ON TV !!!" my 8X.

The S4 used a proximity censor and the front facing camera for gesture and it was horrible. Even my sister turned gesture off on her's because it was unusable.With what Microsoft is doing here is night and day compared to S4.

Speaking of MS Research, they ARE the best. Love them! Many of the best apps are from them. They were also the team that created fresh paint, before it was an offical product. <3

This video has already been shown before.. But, it is cool.. I would use it, and WP can't have too many exclusive technical features.. Bring it on, along with whatever else they can come up with.

This is modern sorcery. i cannot believe the glass is capable of sensing. I thought we'd have to use camera to sense our fingers. 

imagine using swype with this.  no more glass swyping.

This is actually really old tech. I had an "input device" on my old Apple II computer back in the late 80s that looked like a mouse pad, that could sense how high above it your hand was using an EM field (up to like as much as 6-7 inches away). I forget what it was called, but a few games supported it along with joystick to give you three dimensions of control. It worked fine, but was hard as heck to get used to controlling games like that, so it never caught on. Hopefully it works better on the phone. The trick will be in getting enough resolution to accurately sense the difference in height of individual fingers versus your whole hand, so it doesn't just average it all into one blob at a single height value.

Looks amazing.

I'm thinking that it will be like Kinect.  Very useful when my phone is on it's dock so that I can gesture for particular functions.  Promising.

I'm more exited about what will be coming from the pureview camera team, If the Lumia 1020 successor has this tech on the screen plus an improved camera they can take my money :)

I forgot to mention that one of the Microsoft Store reps told me that he had heard a rumour that Lumia 930 could come to AT&T within 2 or 3 months.  If it indeed happens, that would make good sense to have L930 to replace L920 as their high-end flagship.  And the McLaren would be their L1020 replacement (L1030?).  It would be their exquisite high-end device to demo their latest technologies.  L1030 would be their answer to  compete head-on with LG G3 and iPhone 6.

AT&T has the 1520 + 1020 and the 930 is the global version of the Lumia Icon. If it does come to AT&T, Verizon won't be too happy.

Yes, this is innovation, this is Microsoft at work on all fronts.
I am looking forward to experiencing this real world.
Exciting times.

Microsoft Research does some impressive work. Keys hope the marketing people can communicate it well enough to be noticed by the masses. Let's get this Lumia advertised events and get one in my pocket! Microsoft & Nokia are great, teamed up.

Oowee this is so dope. The McLaren might be a two plus year phone for me. I can't wait to upgrade. T-Mobile, Microsoft let's do this!

Is it me or would my hand/fingers be in the way of the screen? Cool though. Browsing maps and photo editing would be a breeze!

Very nice. Someone mentioned Microsoft paint. That is a nice app too, although it makes the image a little too painty, be nice to adjust how painty, anyway. Something to look forward to. Always wiping finger prints off of the screen. Sometimes when I wipe it, the 1520's big screen, looks like the display is on a mescaline trip.

I totally agree with you on Fresh Paint, it makes the images way to "painty".
One would think there would be a way to adjust but no way to do such a thing.
That one thing renders that app useless for me.

I'm sure people at Samsung are watching this video and cutting them selves for not coming up with something like this lol...btw AWESOME concept

Good for applications where u need to see in front of your finger but just release the 930 already.... 3d meh

Just Wondering, Microsoft Research is always doing a research while Google always buy a research? am i right?

i hope microsoft releases this before samesung starts cloning it with gimmicky useless s-software and ends putting a bad image on this tech

It's cool... but, why not touch the screen?

I've tried thinking about uses for this and I can't really find any... And on top of that, you're going to be "that guy" everyone stares at waving his hands over his screen like he's casting a spell on it to follow his command, when all you have to do is just touch the screen...

Hover effect adds an additional layer of interaction. Imagine hovering over a tile and having it pop into "sub-tiles" for you to choose from, or for those stupid hover-enabled menus on many modern websites. Those are just off the top of my head.

At this point Microsoft will give try this feature in their applications in other platforms before doing it in Windows Phone...

OK!, now we are sure that the whole 3d gestures thingy is not a gimmick !. Patiently waiting for the first phone with this technology. Looks like it's gonna be huge.

WOW!!!!!! i can't wait for the McLaren! i'll be the first to stand out queing for that phone outside d gates of ATT(?)

Don't look now, but if Microsoft somehow was able to project a 3d image 2-3 inches in front of the screen and the user could interact with it using this technology, I would say that  Tony Stark meets Minority Report is here.

I don't see any use of all these things with the poor battery densities on phones these days. Manufacturers should focus on tripling/quadruppling the mAh densities of batteries before loading the phones with such features, which most people would turn off anyways, to preserve their batteries.

Agreed however if WP is going to gain any traction further to obtain critical mass we need a device that everyone will want and talk about. Also with battery innovation being in the dark ages (given the speed tech advances these days) everyone is going for energy efficient route which is better in the long run imo.

Make which UI better? WP is leaps and bounds ahead from static icons. The only possible comparative option is to have widgets, which is the road most android OEMs have gone down.

Notification panel is not par even with IOS forget android apart from that many missing features and even lag sometimes. This must be the utmost importance to make UI even smoother and constant improvement to stay on par if not ahead of the competition.

Is this similar to the technology we will see next week when Amazon reveals its new phone? I've watched Amazon's promo video and the people in it appear to responding to the 3-D sensors in the new device.

What impressed me the most is how far away his hand was in the last clip from the screen. I know Samsung has its Air Gestures, but does it sense the user's hand from such a distance?? People above talking about this and talking about that but truth be told this 3D touch would go hand in hand with glance. If I could wave my hand over my screen to see the time and any notifications, what about not touching the screen to wake the phone? what about unlocking it with 3d touch gestures with the new lock screen interactions? Activating Cortana without touching the phone etc passive voice or 3d touch!!! What most of you need to do is to STOP rushing MS to release WP8.1  and allow them to add,add and add some more so that when it's finally fully released that the users and the developers who use it by extension those damn piss poor sales clerks will now actually have a reason to search for a WP8.1 device and show those who walk through their store doors.

Why hasn't anyone up 'til now ever said that MS must be truly a top company to release an OS update for current devices and future devices that hardware from 2 yrs ago will run those devices with "old tech" on par with devices being released in 2013/2014. TBH how would an IPhone 5/GS4,5/HTC M7,8 user feel sitting next to a person using a Lumia 520 or Lumia 920 or Lumia 1020 not touching their phone to open apps, make calls, use cortana, send txts etc with hardware costing less than half of what they spent on their next gen devices!!!

Can't wait MS, just bring it!!!