Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

Hands-On With LG's G8 Smartphone With Air Motion Gestures

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
50,407
11,781



LG is set to launch its new G8 smartphone this Thursday, and ahead of launch, we've gotten our hands on one to try out the smartphone's new Air Motion features, which are touchless gesture-based controls.

Apple has been rumored to be working on such a feature for future iPhones, so we thought we'd see how LG's version works as a glimpse of what we might be able to expect from Apple in the future.


Air Motion is designed to let you use different hand positions, shapes, and gestures to do things like open apps, control media playback, take screenshots, answer phone calls, silence alarms, and more.

It's super cool in theory, but in practice, it's not exactly simple to use because you need to get the LG G8 to recognize the proper gesture. In our testing, it took quite a bit of time for us to learn how to use the gestures, and even now, we haven't mastered it.

You need to hold your hands pretty close to the G8's display for Air Motion gestures to activate, and the smartphone lets you know that it's waiting for a hand movement when there's a multicolored bar at the top of the screen.

Once the gesture mode is activated you can move your hands back, but need to keep them within the gesture circle. If that sounds confusing, well, it is, but the Air Motion feature does get easier to use over time.

Gesturing is no faster than picking up the phone and opening an app or changing the volume in most cases, so this certainly feels more gimmicky than something useful at the current time. It has the potential to be useful if your hands are dirty or wet, but most of the time, it's not a feature most people are likely to use.

Along with gestures, the LG G8 also has a "Hand ID" feature for reading the veins on a person's hands to unlock the smartphone. Hand ID is certainly unique in the world of smartphone biometrics, and it's limited to unlocking - you can't authenticate payments or replace app passwords and will need to use the more traditional fingerprint sensor for that.

Hand ID requires a hand to be placed palm up toward the front facing camera of the smartphone for your vein placement to be read, but, unfortunately, it's as hard to use as Air Motion, if not harder.

A 2018 rumor from Bloomberg suggested Apple is working on iPhones that will use touchless gesture controls, allowing users to hover over the iPhone to navigate through the iOS operating system using a finger, but without having to touch the display.

At the time, it was compared to Samsung's Air Gestures in Android smartphones that let users do things like jump between web pages, swipe between pictures, pages, or music tracks, accept calls, and more.

If Apple moves forward with that rumored gesture technology, it could show up in iPhones as early as 2020, according to Bloomberg's two-year timeline for the feature. It's not yet clear if Apple is continuing to experiment with gestures, though, as we haven't heard any information on such a feature coming to the 2020 iPhone lineup.

What do you think of the LG G8? Are touch-free gestures something you'd like to see in a future iPhone? Let us know in the comments.

Article Link: Hands-On With LG's G8 Smartphone With Air Motion Gestures
 

AngerDanger

macrumors 601
Dec 9, 2008
4,941
23,970
Oh my god, MacRumors, I can't take these nearly-lethal doses of meta:



What, are you trying to bring about the singularity?! :eek:
 
Last edited:
Comment

Joniz

macrumors 6502
Sep 21, 2017
424
1,124
Gimmick.

My BMW has this for controlling various functions and I find it pointless. Much easier to use the actual physical controls (like steering wheel buttons) instead.

So I assume you won’t be too keen to try out BMW’s future steering-by-gestures.
 
  • Like
Reactions: xalea and gmarm
Comment

NMBob

macrumors 65816
Sep 18, 2007
1,258
1,065
New Mexico
Phones have gotten so advanced we're now going to be using sign language?

Not sure if this is before or after just using emojis human communication roadmap.

Wouldn't they need to keep the iPhone from rocking back and forth on the camera bump before they implemented this? You wouldn't want to gesture 'pause the music', have the phone tilt in the middle and get 'lock the phone for 25,000,000 minutes' gesture, instead.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DotCom2
Comment

pika2000

Suspended
Jun 22, 2007
5,587
4,899
Considering LG exited the smartphone market in China and other SE Asian countries, obviously the mobile's division won't be helped with some hand gesturing.
At this point, LG should just become Google's OEM. Seriously, LG had some chops, but they seem to be following HTC into oblivion.
 
  • Like
Reactions: NIKKG
Comment

zarmanto

macrumors regular
Feb 3, 2014
159
106
Around the corner from the 7/11
Air gestures are probably more applicable to appliances like TV but probably not so much for mobile devices with smart voice assistants like Google Assistant.
Actually, I seem to recall Waze implementing a hand-wave gesture at one point, which uses the proximity sensor in your phone to sense the motion of your hand; a motion detection event then triggers the voice control interface. (This is presumably so that you don't have to take your eyes off of the road in order to initiate an interaction with Waze.)

I used that feature exactly once; I thought the hand-wave idea was kind'a neat -- but the voice control interface itself really just seemed like an "almost-there" feature to me. Of course, that was years ago; I suppose it would be reasonable to assume that Google (who owns Waze) has enhanced that feature quite a bit by now.
 
Comment

Gaspode67

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2008
170
137
Oxon, UK
Synaptics, Cypress, and Atmel (now Solomon Systech)* have had this in their codebase for touch ICs for years. Every time it was requested by the phone manufacturers as a feature, but never implemented as people couldn't agree what gestures they wanted, what sort of detect height was best, etc. How do I know? I worked for Atmel for around 8 years (and 12 years with 3M Touch Systems before that) and I remember spending many long hours testing, tweaking, retesting configuration files, demo units etc. only for the time spent to be wasted when the manufacturers decided not to go with hover "just yet". It's always been a solution in search of a problem to fix...


*These three are the main touch IC manufacturers for handheld & tablet devices
 
Comment

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,826
2,383
Between the coasts
The concept of gestures goes back quite a while. I still think it has its place, but smartphones may not be that place.

I've said this several times over the years regarding the use of touchscreen on desktop PCs. Moving your arm around a 27" or larger touchscreen display could be wearying, to say the least - large arm movements are required. Smaller hand gestures a la Air Motion make more sense to me. A Mac equipped for Face ID will have all the hardware needed to deliver this capability to desktop computing. From there, it's a matter of quality of execution.

As someone else mentioned, controlling a TV is another example - too far away to touch the screen. And while voice control can accomplish a lot, when it comes to some kinds of point/swipe/drag/drop, gestures (whether directly touching as in touchscreen, or by air gestures) can be more effective.

So, it's coming, it's nice that a manufacturer is bold enough to bring it to market, but this doesn't seem the best product for proof-of-concept.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Intellectua1
Comment

jacg

macrumors 6502a
Jan 16, 2003
932
62
UK
Pretty easy with that laser depth scanning stuff I would guess.
 
Comment
Jul 4, 2015
4,488
2,549
Paris
The concept of gestures goes back quite a while. I still think it has its place, but smartphones may not be that place.

I've said this several times over the years regarding the use of touchscreen on desktop PCs. Moving your arm around a 27" or larger touchscreen display could be wearying, to say the least - large arm movements are required. Smaller hand gestures a la Air Motion make more sense to me. A Mac equipped for Face ID will have all the hardware needed to deliver this capability to desktop computing. From there, it's a matter of quality of execution.

As someone else mentioned, controlling a TV is another example - too far away to touch the screen. And while voice control can accomplish a lot, when it comes to some kinds of point/swipe/drag/drop, gestures (whether directly touching as in touchscreen, or by air gestures) can be more effective.

So, it's coming, it's nice that a manufacturer is bold enough to bring it to market, but this doesn't seem the best product for proof-of-concept.

There was a competition in 2006 for building Mac apps and it has a forum where lots of ideas were thrown around many of which have appeared on iOS etc People on that forum were pitching gesture based actions use the webcam way back then.
 
Comment

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
34,605
35,971
Not the future.

Definitely not. I think things like this are interesting, but they don’t really have any practicality to the every day consumer to want to learn something like this, when they would rather just use their phone as they always have. It’s interesting marketing at best, but something that will be quickly phased out being nothing more than a sideshow.
 
  • Like
Reactions: GrumpyMom
Comment

tarkeybear

macrumors member
Mar 2, 2006
83
41
Claremont CA
I would love to see Apple incorporate something like this into Apple Watch. The watch screen interface gets unpredictable when pressed with wet fingers (example, trying to acknowledge a timer with wet hands). If I could interact with intuitive non-contact gestures as demonstrated in the video, that would be awesome.
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.