Imagine having the ability to manipulate a touchscreen without actually touching it. Now while that may seem like something in the realm of science fiction, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has already developed that exact technology.

In an effort to reduce the chances of spreading bacteria and viruses, JLR, along with the University of Cambridge, developed what they call 'predictive touch'. This new technology uses artificial intelligence and an array of sensors that can predict a user's intended target on a touchscreen.

Whether the user plans to plot a navigation route, adjust climate control, or play some music, the new system will allow drivers to keep their eyes on the road, while also reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses in a post-COVID-19 world. This new system was made possible thanks to the use of a gesture tracker, as well as an eye-tracker that can monitor a user's intent in real-time.

“As countries around the world exit lockdown, we notice how many everyday consumer transactions are conducted using touchscreens: railway or cinema tickets, ATMs, airport check-ins and supermarket self-service checkouts, as well as many industrial and manufacturing applications. Predictive touch technology eliminates the need to touch an interactive display and could, therefore, reduce the risk of spreading bacteria or viruses on surfaces,” said Lee Skrypchuk, Human Machine Interface Technical Specialist at JLR.

JLR develops contactless touchscreen to reduce spread of bacteria image

With countries around the world still experiencing COVID-19 infections, JLR's new contactless touchscreen could help curb the spread of unwanted diseases. Also, by eliminating the need to physically interact with the screen, JLR claims that the effort and time needed to manipulate a screen has been reduced by up to 50%.

But is JLR the first to actually make a contactless system? Not exactly, as BMW released a similar system way back in 2015. It works by recognizing certain movements of the finger – allowing users to adjust the volume, go through different menus, and even accept or reject an incoming call.

As the world tries to adjust to the new normal, perhaps there will be more touchscreen systems that make use of gesture control or predictive touch in order to lessen the chances of transmitting bacteria/viruses that can cause contagious diseases.

Jaguar Land Rover will soon announce which models will come with the new predictive touch technology.