The Future Is Contactless: How NFC And Gesture Control Are Changing Our World

Contactless and touch free technology has been coming to a store near you for a number of years now, however it seems that 2013 is the first year that it may become truly integrated.

There are innumerable ways for users to use touch-free technology in one way or another and the benefits are significant. Here are some ways this contactless tech is being integrated into our lives.


One of the big changes that we’ve seen in the last 12 months or so is the introduction of contactless payments. Take in the UK for instance bus payments once paid for via prepaid travel cards can now be achieved via bank cards, as can payments in shops and for services. Payments are generally limited to relatively small sums.

In many cases these payments are also being mobilised for mobile use, allowing users with NFC chipped mobile phones to pay via an online wallet from their phone. With smart phone saturation reaching 75% in the UK, making payments with your mobile may become increasingly more popular. Payments are usually made against modified chip and pin devices in shops, bus travel card readers or via kiosks and other similar machines.

Other examples of contactless payment include sticker strips that can be added to the back of phones and are connected with bank accounts. These strips use the same tech as the NFC enabled chips, but can be used with phones without the in-built technology.


PayPal has also created its own alternative to the technology. Users can utilise their PayPal accounts and use the technology on devices without NFC. PayPal users pay with their handsets by entering their phone number and a pin into the point of sale device. The option is becoming increasingly available in the US, but is more similar to cardless payment than contactless.

Gesture Control

Gesture control is still in its infancy in a consumer tech environment; however expect to see it everywhere soon. The technology uses sensors and electrical devices cameras to allow users to control their screens.

Users control through a variety of pre-defined movements and then the device reacts in an apt manner. Samsung has integrated this technology in a number of its higher end TVs, replacing most of the remote control’s requirements. Users can switch channels, change volume and control the TV by simply gesturing toward the TV with their hands in a specific manner. You can also seen this technology on tablets, phones and other high tech ProTouch kiosks with suitable displays and technology.

Hands free and contactless technology is the next little revolution that we’ll find ourselves taking part in. As with most technology, without realising you’ll be using it everyday as it invisibly integrates in to your life.

John Self writes articles on technology and enjoys keeping up with the latest tech happenings.