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." (Read more Kinect stories.)