What Is a Touchless User Interface?
A touchless user interface (UI) lets users give commands to computing devices without touching a screen, mouse device, trackpad, or keyboard. One great example is Amazon’s Echo line of products. Users command them by saying what they need. The only task that involves people using their hands is its setup. After that, users can use the device without the use of their hands.
Touchless UIs were developed to enable hands-free usage when performing tasks such as running large machines or driving a car. The use of touchless UIs also mitigates the danger of contamination in the operating rooms of hospitals or of nursing devices.
Key Advantages of a Touchless UI
A touchless UI has an edge over devices that require touch interactions because decreasing physical contact is helpful in diverse contexts—from food-processing plants to an airport’s self-service registration kiosks. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it obvious that we need to incorporate this technology into many more apps and products.
Many consumers want a touchless UI because it enables high-speed interactions. In certain settings, using a mouse device and a keyboard or a touch screen can be very inconvenient, which makes these input devices more inefficient.
A good use case for a touchless UI is a walk-in, deep freezer. The employees who work in them must function in temperatures below zero degrees Fahrenheit, so they must wear woolen jackets, gloves, and safety goggles that can fog up. Now imagine such employees needing to enter some information or view data on a computing device. They would have to step out of the deep freezer, then remove their gloves and safety goggles to use a mouse and keyboard.
Facial detection is a common and highly useful feature of a touchless UI. Facial detection indicates only the presence of an individual person. It is essentially different from facial recognition because, although the device can detect that a user is in close proximity to it, it can’t establish who that person is by identifying his or her face.
Basically, facial detection requires a camera that is continually turned on and supplies a nonstop video stream. The enabling software continually attempts to discover the presence or absence of a user in the frame. Facial detection doesn’t require a high-quality camera to determine the presence of a user’s face. A black-and-white camera with low or medium resolution would be sufficient because image quality isn’t important. The device can detect the presence of a face in black and white.