Indian woman develops touch-free mobile technology

Goan native Andrea Colaco, with her co-partner Ahmed Kirmani, wins US$100,000 from MIT to develop their "3dim" gesture-sensing tech with interested mobile manufacturers.

Touch-free, or gesture recognition, technology is something that has been lacking from mobile devices for years, and is made more apparent in the latest smartphones and tablets. It is something all mobile phone manufacturers have been scrambling to develop and implement for years.

Now, the industry appears to have taken a step further in making such technology a reality, thanks to the research of Andrea Colaco and her co-partner Ahmed Kirmani. According to, Goan native Colaco and Kirmani won the Massachusetts Institute Technology's (MIT) entrepreneurship competition with their touch-free mobile tech--called "3dim"--which provides real-time, millimeter-accurate 3D gesture sensing by employing patented signal processing methods. 

With the win, the two innovators received US$100,000 in funds and will use it to develop the technology with mobile manufacturers which had expressed an interest.

So what does the future lie with regard to this technology, specifically to consumers? Well, to begin with, it would obviously eliminate the need to use a keyboard or touch screen for many tasks, as gestures could be programmed into mobile devices to recognize the pattern and then execute the command.

Personally, I don’t think it would completely eliminate the need for either a keyboard or touch screen as it would be both challenging and difficult to send e-mails and text messages, for example, using simple gestures. Perhaps some of the commands to get from the home screen to the text editor could be eliminated with gestures, though.

What I find as probably one of the best uses for gesture recognition is implementing a whole new level of personal security for devices, along with both stored content and data. In other words, without a certain gesture, perhaps the device won't activate or unlock, and sensitive information would remain hidden, especially in the event of the device being damaged, stolen, or gone missing.

By the same token, users would have to remember what gestures have been entered, or programmed, to unlock their content.

That being said, perhaps one of the greatest features for touch-free technology will be the elimination of multiple windows to run several applications since, with a gesture, users can move seamlessly from one application to another.

Another niche area is games, as gesture recognition would bring a whole new level to games on mobile devices, which in itself is a growing industry.