Soon you'll be using gestures to answer your phone or play music on your smartphone ©Yuri Arcurs/shutterstock.com

(Relaxnews) – Move over touch screens and fingers, camera-based gesture recognition is the way of the future.

Just as consumers are getting used to placing their finger on the screen instead of moving a mouse on the desk, gesture-based recognition looks to take over as the next “big deal” in computer input.

“Gesture recognition is a very exciting prospect, particularly for smartphones and tablets,” says ABI Research senior analyst Josh Flood in a recent report on Mobile Device Enabling Technologies. “These devices are already heavily entrenched into peoples’ lives and another communication interface is always very welcome.”

ABI forecasts that around 600 million smartphones will feature vision-based gesture recognition by 2017. An even higher number of media tablets are expected to sport the technology.

Camera-based gesture tracking is already used on popular games consoles such as Microsoft’s Xbox with Kinect and Sony’s PlayStation with PlayStation Eye. ABI reports that smartphones and tablets will be the next wave of gadgets to sport vision-based gesture recognition once hurdles such as high power consumption and variations in background, and adverse light conditions are overcome.

Consumers shouldn’t have to wait too long for the technology to start appearing on smartphones and tablets. Chip maker Qualcomm has been actively promoting the visional gesture recognition technology on its Snapdragon chipset in 2012.

“Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor will offer smartphone OEMs the ability to have camera, infrared, and ultrasound based tracking,” said ABI.

Korean manufacturer Pantech has already started selling a smartphone equipped with camera-based tracking. The phone was launched back in November 2011. Pantech’s Vega LTE smartphone uses technology from Israel-based company eyeSight to do things like answer the phone, flip through photos or play music with gestures. A video of the technology in action can be seen on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TofWQZe6ucU&feature=player_embedded.

Earlier this year Hillcrest Labs also showed off Kinect-like gesture and motion technology for the smartphone. The company told AllThingsD that “Phones and tablets using its technology should show up starting in the first quarter of next year.”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TofWQZe6ucU&version=3&feature=player_embedded]