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Juniper: Smartphone gesture controls important for VR uptake

Virtual reality VR Edinburgh Digital Entertainment FestivalThe use of gesture and motion controls in smartphone-based virtual reality will be particularly important in driving up usage, according to Juniper Research.

The research firm predicted that this technology will be found in 128 million devices by the end of 2016, rising to 492 million by 2020 – marking growth of more than 280%.

Juniper said it expects nearly 50% of all wearables and almost all VR devices to use gesture control technology by 2021. However, for more established platforms like PCs and smartphones, it predicted that usage will remain low.

“The arrival of motion control for smartphone VR in 2017 will start a shift towards multimodal computing, using both peripherals and motion and gesture control. However, at the moment this will simply extend current functionalities, holding back adoption across devices as a whole, unless the UI paradigm changes,” said Juniper.

Research author James Moar added: “VR and wearables have shown the way that gesture and haptics can provide fresh ways to interact with technology. The game changer for other platforms will be when technology firms are brave enough to reinvent their UIs to incorporate gesture and motion control, rather than considering it an optional add-on.”