Touchscreens are so 2011. Starting as soon as next year, we'll be able to manipulate our phones with a wave of the hand. And that's just the beginning: Touch-free technology could soon take over our TVs, our tablets, and other devices, the BBC reports. One company behind the shift is Israel's XTR3D, which recently scored an $8 million investment; the firm expects the first touchless smartphone to hit the market in 2012.
Such technology isn't, of course, entirely new: Microsoft's motion-detecting Kinect gaming system has been around since last year. But while Kinect uses a collection of sensors, microphones, and cameras to do its work, XTR3D's equipment simply uses 2D cameras like the one on your phone. But it goes beyond phones and TVs: It "can be installed into any consumer electronics device," says a rep for the company; in fact, a computer loaded with XTR3D's software can be used to play a Kinect game. And don't expect it to be out of your reach. "Our target is to penetrate the market, so it will be something for everyone to try out."