Apple introduced 3D Touch with the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus with a lot of fanfare, but the folks at Qeexo, a Carnegie Mellon University spinoff, just rained on its parade.
The company has developed an algorithm that can estimate the 3D orientation of a finger against touchscreens. It’s called FingerAngle, and it can detect not only the angle of your finger, it can also detect rotations. This can be more powerful than 3D Touch in that more gestures can be created by the movement of just one finger, whereas 3D Touch is limited to how soft or hard the user is pressing,
For example, you could adjust the volume by simply rotating your finger clockwise or counterclockwise. The same movement can be used for zooming in or zooming out. You can also scroll up or down by simply adjusting the angle of your finger. Mobile gaming controls would also be upgraded in a major way.
These types of applications can be very useful on smartphones and tablets, but imagine them on a much smaller screen such as a smartwatch, which doesn’t have the real estate for more than one finger.
Although FingerAngle is software-based, don’t expect to install an app to give your current phone this functionality. It would have to be installed in the phone’s firmware and integrated with the manufacturer’s software to work. Qeexo is already working with a number of manufacturers to bring FingerAngle to devices.
Qeexo already showed major improvements in touchscreen improvements with FingerSense. Fingersense uses a knuckle to tap or knock on the screen for certain functions. Huawei is already using FingerSense on its P8, Honor 7, and Mate S smartphones. Users can replace long-press functions, quickly crop sections, capture screenshots, and so much more with just their knuckle.
The company also developed EarSense, which is a software-only alternative to the proximity sensor on most smartphones. This solution allows devices with thinner bezels to recognize when the device is in contact with the face and ears to reject unwanted touches during phone calls.
There is no word on when we can expect the first smartphone to use FingerAngle, but we’re hopeful that we will see something by next year.