Pantech Vega LTE smartphone works by wave of the hand (w/ video)

Pantech Vega LTE smartphone works by wave of the hand (w/ video)

( -- A smartphone that can be controlled touch-free with a wave of the hand in the air is due for the Korean market this month. South Korean mobile phone manufacturers Pantech yesterday announced the launch of a high end smartphone with gesture-recognition technology developed by eyeSight Mobile Technologies. Video demos circulating over the Internet suggest the new smartphone will not only be seen by gadget-hungry buyers as cool but by many phone users as useful.

The might be especially convenient in situations where hands are on steering wheels, in a mixing bowl, or covered with that are difficult to remove in time to handle a phone call.

The new entrant is called the Pantech Vega LTE. Reports describe this Android as “spec-heavy”: 1280 x 800 resolution, 4.5-inch display, dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm processor, 1GB of RAM, .8MP camera, 1.3MP front facing camera, 16GB of internal storage and 1830mAh battery. Through wave-like sweeps across the phone display, the smartphone user can answer calls, switch songs or move across a photo gallery. The phone’s front camera acts as sensor for the user’s gestures.

Yesterday’s launch announcement was made jointly by Pantech and eyeSight; the latter are developers of the technology that permits the hand-waving. The software works in the same way that gamers control the interface of the Xbox thanks to Kinect.

The Israel-based company’s Hand Gesture Recognition Technology is paired with the Pantech phone but is also software that could run on a tablet with front-facing camera.

Beyond the Pantech alliance, the company has touch-free-software applicable for a range of consumer electronics products--PCs, gaming systems, and navigation systems.

Last month Hisense Group, a Chinese manufacturer of consumer electronics, was reportedly teaming up with eyeSight to integrate the Hand Technology in Android-based smart TVs. (Smart TVs allow the user to access the Internet.) The TV construct calls for a 2-D camera on the front that recognizes the hand gestures the user makes for controlling the TV, similar to the way the smartphone operates. There was no word at the time of the announcement when and if the TVs would be available elsewhere than China.

In January, eyeSight will showcase technology under its banner at the 2012 International Association (CES) show in Las Vegas.

As for Pantech, the new Vega LTE brings the handset maker greater recognition in what’s considered as a next phase of mobile technologies. That next wave is exploring motion as a way of device control. The phone, however, is so far for the Korean market. There were no details at the time of this writing about if and when it will be made available in the U.S.

© 2011

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