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This Touch Screen Uses Gestures as Virtual Tools

Multi-touch gestures open up a number of different ways to interact with touch screens — if you can remember all the fingers and motions you're supposed to use. Apart from pinch-to-zoom and few double-finger taps, most of us probably aren't making the most of the multi-touch gestures at our disposal.

Qeexo, a company that specializes in touch interaction, wants to make your touch-screen use more intuitive. The company is working on a feature called TouchTools that incorporates natural gestures to let you manipulate various virtual tools on a touch surface.

CEO and co-founder Sang Won Lee walked me through Qeexo's TouchTools technology during a demo at CES, where he took a tablet and curved his fingers as if he were holding a pen. A virtual pen appeared on the screen, allowing him to mark up text with virtual ink. If he wanted to erase something that he'd just written, Lee would alter his grip so that it looked like he was holding a whiteboard eraser; the onscreen tool would change based on his gesture.

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Qeexo's TouchTools technology can support a wide variety of virtual objects, from a two-button mouse to a magnifying glass, based on the way you position your hand.

Lee says the technology is geared toward larger screens — think digital whiteboards, or the interactive panels on in-car infotainment systems. The technology is trickier to implement on devices with smaller displays such as smartphones, although Lee's demo on a tablet looked pretty good to my eyes.

Qeexo has some expertise in giving you new ways to interact with your devices. The company's FingerSense technology is incorporated into the knuckle gestures featured in Huawei phones like the Mate 9 and Honor 8. In that implementation, you use your knuckle to draw a letter on the phone's screen to launch a specific app such as the camera, web browser or music player.

Lee says Qeexo is working on a FingerSense-enabled app that would essentially let you use knuckle gestures to multitask, jumping between apps on a phone with just a double knock. The app, dubbed Eazli, is currently in testing, although Qeexo expects to commercialize it during the first half of this year.