The introduction of progressive smartphone designs have truly been a game changer in consumer electronics -- essentially re-imagining the user interface (UI) on a hand-held device. Meanwhile, user expectations have been elevated, as these devices are applied in a broader range of use-cases.
The result is that mobile handset manufacturers have had to innovate and explore new modes of interactive device control that enable users to operate a handset without having to touch it directly.
It's anticipated that by 2019 the global market for services based on gesture and biometric interface technologies will be worth an estimated $1.2 billion, that's up from less than $2 million this year, according to the latest market study by Juniper Research.
Juniper found that innovation in mobile phone hardware and software has paved the way for a new paradigm of handset interaction, including touch-less command and biometric identification.
They believe that although advanced Human Interface technology is unlikely to substitute touch commands altogether, touch-less and biometric interfaces will play a key role in enhancing user experience and handset security.
It cited touch-less screen scrolling, as seen in the Samsung Smart Scroll feature, and the integration of Touch ID into Apple Pay, as examples of key areas in which these technologies are likely to be applied.
While Human Interface innovation has primarily focused on working with the existing hardware of handsets, Juniper's findings infer that software -- not hardware -- will be key to unlocking new potential in the touch-less and biometric space.
They have also highlighted ways in which handset functionality is being significantly enhanced through appware that can access sensor functionality in cameras, microphones and biometric scanners.
In fact, cameras already detect face and eye movements, microphones offer a gateway to voice activated commands and touch screens can detect biometric identifiers -- such as ear, palm and vein prints.
Juniper believes that this year more than 16 million Human Interface apps will be downloaded to smartphones and media tablets worldwide, and ongoing market growth is anticipated through to 2019.
In addition, they have identified further possibilities in sensor fusion, whereby appware will combine sensor capabilities for multi-modal methods of device interaction.