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Air Push

Table of contents
  1. Introduction
  2. How it Works
  3. Feedback and reassurance
    1. Outer circle guidance
    2. Confirmation of selection
  4. Limitations
  5. Air Push with Ultraleap TouchFree


Using Air Push is like using a touchscreen, but without actually touching the screen.

Air Push interaction for touchless technology public screens

This is Ultraleap’s recommended interaction method for most kiosk interfaces and sizes.

Users move a cursor over their on-screen target by moving their hand up/down/left/right, then push their hand forward to select.

Once their hand starts moving forwards, users only need to cover a very short distance in order to execute a “tap” and select a button in the UI.

Ultraleap research indicates that it is a natural, familiar, and intuitive interaction method that can be learned and executed very quickly by first-time users.

Air Push is recommended for button pushing/tapping, and is well suited to public kiosks with user interfaces largely made of buttons, such as fast food menus, ATMs, and train ticket kiosks.

How it Works

Air Push uses the velocity and direction of the user’s hand to judge whether they selecting or moving the cursor into position. As such, it works with a range of hand poses, and can be initiated from anywhere within the interaction zone.

Air Push interaction for touchless technology public screens

The general public will use a variety of hand poses to interact with the kiosk. They can use their whole hand or any number of fingers extended whilst pushing their hand forwards to make a selection.

Air Push works at any distance from the screen because the forward motion can be initiated anywhere within range of the camera.

Feedback and reassurance

The cursor’s purpose is to provide users with live feedback on their interactions with the interface. It gives users confidence in their actions and provides reassurance they are selecting their intended target.

Outer circle guidance

The cursor’s outer circle contracts and expands to show the system is recognizing their hand moving forwards and backwards, and provides positive reinforcement that they are successfully interacting.

Air Push interaction for touchless technology public screens

Whilst the pushing motion is in progress, the cursor automatically locks in place to avoid drift and help ensure users hit the button they want.

Confirmation of selection

When the user’s hand quickly moves forwards over a short distance, the system will register a “tap” on the screen’s UI, interacting with whichever button or UI control is present. At this moment, the central cursor dot animates to provide visual confirmation of the successful “tap”.

Air Push interaction for touchless technology public screens

In addition to button animations and colour changes upon selection, the cursor dot animation informs the user that their selection has been successful. This is particularly important when the physical sensation of touching glass is absent from the interaction.

Use of audio feedback such a “click” sound upon selection can also help confirm a successful selection has been made.


TouchFree works as a “virtual screen” overlaid on top of a touchscreen UI, and as such interprets user actions, sending “touch” signals to the UI at the right times. It cannot identify or respond to UI elements as the cursor passes over them, and as such the Air Push cursor responds whether over a UI element or not. However, Ultraleap user testing indicates that there is no issue here for first time users, and the Air Push interaction feels natural and intuitive.

Air Push with Ultraleap TouchFree

The Air Push interaction is included with Ultraleap’s TouchFree application. TouchFree is designed to run invisibly on top of existing touchscreen user interfaces, providing touchless interaction without writing a single line of code.

Ultraleap recommend the following settings for Air Push in TouchFree. These can be changed in the User Interface Settings screen of the TouchFree application.

It is important to have the appropriate settings for your specific UI and audience’s needs. The table below includes the Air Push settings we recommended for most existing kiosk UIs.

Setting Name Recommend Value Description
Cursor movement 20% Stops the cursor moving whilst making a selection
Cursor size 0.80 cm The size of the cursor on-screen
Cursor max ring scale 2.00 cm The size of the outer circle on the circle relative to the size of the central dot
Cursor vertical offset 0.00 cm Moves the cursor up or down relative to the user’s hand

TouchFree User Interface Settings for Air Push interaction