Add Hovering Controls to Your Android Phone

If you have watched Minority Report, you may marvel at how Tom Cruise can hover his hands in the air and get the computer to do the things they want. For Samsung Galaxy S4 users, you may have a feel of this as it comes with a hovering control feature that allows you to answer the call without touching the screen. What about the rest of us Android users? Are we missing out the fun?

Hovering Controls is an Android app in the Play store that allows you to control certain aspects of your phone with gestures in the air. It is fairly basic and limited at the moment, but it will give you a glance of the future where you can command your phone at a distance away, by hovering your hands in the air.

The version at Play Store comes at a price of $0.99. If you just want to give it a try, you can download the free XDA version from the XDA-Developers forum. If you like it after trying it out, do make a purchase at the Play Store to show your support to the developer.

The main window is divided into a few sections.

At the very top are the Start and Stop buttons where you can tap to start/stop the app. Once started, it will run in the background and monitor any gesture with the front camera.

hovering-controls-main-screen

The next section is the “Hover Hold” section. Here is where you can configure which app to open when you place and hold your hand right in front of the camera. Lastly is the Slide Once and Slide Twice section.

At the moment, it only allows you to choose a particular app to open (or open previous app) when you hover your hand in the air. The Carousel Mode in the Slide Once section allows you to open several apps at the same time.

hovering-controls-select-app

Once you have configured the app and have it running, you can start to hover your hand above the camera to test it out. On a personal note, I do find that the response time (detection of gestures and launching of app) is rather slow, and sometimes it requires a few tries for it to register the gesture correctly. Your mileage might differ.

It would be useless if this app only allowed you to launch other apps. In the Settings section, there are options for customizing the in-app behavior. Other than the standard “Start at boot”, “Vibrate”, “Hide Notification Icon” options, you can also set the behavior for specific apps. For example, when you receive a call, you just have to hold the phone to your ear to pick up the call. No longer do you have to swipe the screen to select Accept/Reject for an incoming call. You can also swipe in the air to silence the ringtone.

hovering-controls-phone-call-options

Other in-app behavior includes the quick glance in the lockscreen. When your screen is locked, you can swipe in the air and get the quick glance screen (number of missed calls, battery stats, and unread mail) to show up. You can also use the double swipe action to unlock the screen, though I have not been able to get it to work successfully.

hovering-controls-quick-glance

For rooted phones, you can also use hover swipe action to slide up/down in the browser or left/right in the Photo Gallery. Once again, while they worked fine, the response is rather slow.

Hovering Controls provides a good concept of how the future phone should work. At the moment, the response is rather slow for the hover detection. If you set the detection delay to a shorter time, you will run into the issue of the app incorrectly registering hovering gesture. I do particularly like the feature that allows you to pick up a call by just placing the phone to the ear, or silence it with a single hover swipe. This is pretty handy.

Give it a try and let us know how it should improve to be really useful.

Image credit: Minority Report TV