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Control your smartphone with gestures

LiveMint logoLiveMint 06-03-2017 Abhijit Ahaskar

Controlling an action on your smartphone by the flick of a hand, or by looking away from the screen are some of the common gesture controls available on many smartphones. The problem with many of the gesture controls is that they are too complex and beats the very purpose for which they exist.

However, not all gesture controls are gimmicky and are being used by many users in their day to day life.

Using geometric figures

These gestures are often easier to remember as they use simple geometrical figures as commands. Drawing a V sign to switch on the flashlight, a circle to unlock the phone’s camera or drawing two lines up or down to play and pause music playback are some of the regular but very effective gesture control tools which are very easy to remember and accurate nine out of ten times. OnePlus, Oppo, Vivo and Panasonic are some of the phonemakers that offers these controls.

Receiving calls made easy

This is another useful gesture control which can make answering calls easier. Developed by Cube 26 for Indian phone brands such as Micromax, Intex and Karbonn, it allows users to receive calls by simply lifting the phone and drawing it close to the ear. The user doesn’t have to tap on the answer button on the phone before receiving the call. This feature uses the phone’s proximity sensor which automatically turns the screen off when the user is talking on the phone to avoid accidental taps when the ear is touching the display.

Tilting the phone sideways

This is another smartphone gesture that uses the phone’s accelerometer to register sideways movement of the phone’s screen during games. It is widely used in racing games such as F1 2016, Real Racing, Asphalt 8 and some of the popular running games such as Temple Run. Anyone who has played these games can tell how big a difference tilt-to-steer control can bring to the gaming experience compared to tapping on screen to control an object.

Light up the display

Seen first in the Moto X smartphones, active display technology is one of the simplest yet most popular gesture controls that many rely on a daily basis. It automatically lights up the display when the phone is picked up, revealing all the recent notifications on the phone. It uses smartphone’s accelerometer to determine the phone’s position and the moment it is lifted the screen lights up by itself. This feature is also available on Apple iPhones running iOS 10 and above.

Tracking your eyes

Another useful feature is called eye tracking, which uses a phone’s front camera to register the eye movements made over the phone’s screen. The eye based gesture control can tell when a user is looking at the screen. Used first in the Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone, the tool was used to automatically pause a video if the user looks away. Though effective, it never became popular. Now Samsung has used the tech in an app called Safety Screen. If a child or a person with weak eyes is looking at a phone’s screen from a very close distance, the app will identify it and automatically block the screen with a cute animation until the child maintains the optimal distance again. This app is free to download and can be installed on any Android smartphone.

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