If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that people are icky and carry disease. Who wants to touch a surface after another mouthbreather has touched it? Or licked it?

Coronoavirus, come at me, bro.

#YOLO, amirite? Anyway, there are changes that 2020 has brought with it, positive changes, innovation, thinking around problems that were previously solutions to other problems. One of those solutions is TouchFree, a new touchless gesture control option for interactive screens. How did we get here?

After Ultrahaptics acquired Leap Motion in May 2019, they rebranded as Ultraleap to combine forces in the area of haptic feedback and hand tracking technology. Part of their dev effort is new devices, the other part is software that makes use of current devices.

TouchFree combines hardware and software to turn that standard multi-touch kiosks display into a touchless experience. It’s designed to run “invisibly on top of existing touchscreens… minimizing contact with shared surfaces”.

Outside the benefits of eliminating shared surface sickness spread, this is one more move that shifts the idea of control away from the mouse, keyboard, even finger, to demonstrate how interaction is accomplished off-screen… or, within proximity to the screen.

The setup for existing touchscreens is fairly simple as well. You’ll need an Ultraleap touch device (an IR 170 or Leap Motion Controller) and the TouchFree app installation (Windows only). You setup the camera based on where it’s located then calibrate the screen. A detailed setup guide is available along with docs to help with usability and interaction.

YouTube video

A license is required to use TouchFree, and while developer (non-commercial) licensing is free, you’ll need to contact Ultraleap for Commercial and Enterprise licensing. For device pricing, Leap Motion Controllers runs USD $89 while the IR 170 sits at USD $250. Surfaces your days are numbered.


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.