New Gesture Controls Could Make Zoom More Like “Minority Report”

For the moment, the teleconferencing app can only recognize and mimic a few everyday motions on screen

Man showing thumbs up during conference call on digital tablet at home. A new Zoom update means the teleconferencing software can now show a similar reaction emoji when you do real-life actions.
Now available on Zoom: Gesture controls.

Zoom is watching you. And now, it’s mimicking your actions.

The teleconferencing app recently added Gesture Recognition, which means the computer will note if you’re raising your hand or giving a thumbs up; in return, the software will display the equivalent icon on the screen.

Zoom’s blog explains Gesture Recognition as follows: “Easily share how you’re feeling with others and encourage seamless engagement with Gesture Recognition, which allows for visual gestures, such as a raised hand, to automatically display a corresponding meeting reaction. This feature currently supports Raise Hand and Thumbs Up reactions and requires client version 5.10.3 or higher, and can be enabled at the account and group levels. This setting is disabled at the client level by default.”

As Fast Company suggests, this seemingly small update could lead to more advanced gesture controls in the future, with conversation and natural hand movements “[removing] the barriers between you and a computer entirely.” The publication compares the ideal gesture control to something akin to Minority Report, although they note that previous attempts to move away from keyboards and the mouse (such as Microsoft’s Kinect) have had issues with lag time between motion and the virtual response.

For now, Zoom’s update simply negates the need to click, find and press the hand or thumbs-up emoji — which is useful if you’re in a meeting with several people and it’s hard to make out gestures or responses. That said, too much hand-waving in any communications context could get annoying — hopefully, Zoom will keep gesture controls simple and select.

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