Tap, swipe, speak…gesture? The next trend in home automation may not require you to utter a word or touch a thing. While still in development, gesture-based technologies are emerging on the market. Collectively, we are more wary of touching communal surfaces and accustomed to sharing work/live/play spaces with our family or pod; a silent, non-tactile command could be beneficial to prevent disturbing work, sleep, or even meditation as well as prevent germ-spreading.

Motion-activated faucets and hand dryers in public spaces are anticipated, even expected, but now this technology is coming home. Kohler has long been leading the pack with faucets, including its Sensate touchless kitchen faucet released in 2019, but a now new version for the bathroom and a touchless toilet are available. After 2020, a toilet that flushes with the wave of a hand is pretty exciting stuff.

The main component in gesture-control systems is a depth sensor. This may mean that depending upon the brand, cameras and microphones won’t be necessary, allowing more of a sense of privacy. For some, that holds a lot of appeal. Furthermore, gesture control may bridge the gap between certain smart technologies and people with disabilities. A gesture-recognition system called Dots allows for amputees and people with disabilities to use smart devices more effectively.

An early adopter of gesture-controlled systems for personal use are Audi and BMW, which give drivers the ability to control infotainment inside the car with gestures. The BMW iNext has incorporated gaze recognition and enhanced gesture recognition that allows interaction with direct surroundings outside of the car; look at the sunroof to open it or point to a building and ask, “When does this restaurant close?”

If you’re using your smart assistant for several functions at once—say, displaying a recipe while you’re busy cooking and playing music at a Saturday evening party level—Google Nest Hub 2 lets you simply raise a hand to pause the music or stop a timer. No shouting for the device to hear you or messy fingers touching the screen.

Taking this a step further, integrated homes are learning to respond to our very presence. The Nest Hub 2 also uses Sleep Tracking to notice light and temperature changes in your bedroom, detect respiratory rate, coughing and snoring—all things that contribute to or prohibit a good night’s sleep—and offers personalized tips for improvement.

Creston’s Horizon Thermostat’s built-in proximity sensor wakes up when you are near, eliminating the need for touch. The light sensor adjusts display brightness and switches to dark mode in the evening. And with the Crestron Home system, window treatments and lights can be integrated with the thermostat, so if the temperature rises, the systems can work together to close blinds, rather than turn on the A/C. This creates an altogether more intuitive home—something gesture technology is aiming to accomplish anyway.

It’s exciting to contemplate the possibilities of this emerging wave of future technology. After more than a year of pandemic life, we have a more acute awareness of surfaces, surroundings, and others; the time is ripe for this new tech. 

Responsive Living, the term coined by Acoustic Architects founders, Aaron Flint and Spencer Hauldren, is the concept of seamlessly enhancing the client’s unique lifestyle using smart home technology. Responsive Living allows you to interact with your space via touch input, voice command, and predictive automation, placing you in full control of your home.

If you would like to learn more about connected homes, feel free to connect with us. We will be happy to schedule a demo with you.

For more information, visit acousticarchitects.net

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