Microsoft demoed its Pre-Touch sensing technology that anticipates your fingers before they touch the screen, and provides contextual menus adapted to the grip. Microsoft video posted a YouTube video showcasing various uses of Pre-Touch sensing. The technology allows for an entirely new approach to user interfaces on mobile devices.
Instead of just an orientation sensor, the device knows exactly where the user's fingers are around the edges of the device, and whether or not a phone is being held with two hands. The touchscreen senses fingers in close proximity to the screen, even before a touch event happens. This allows the phone to anticipate the gestures of the users, and provide contextual menus based on how the phone is being gripped.
For example, the interface of a video player adapts to two-handed views or one-handed views. Video players typically require users to scrub on a progress bar to navigate to a particular point in the video. The volume is typically adjusted with a horizontal slider on top.
Microsoft Research demonstrated dials for going through the timeline, or adjusting the volume. The technology can also be used for creating cleaner web browsers, with hyperlinks and buttons for embedded multimedia content showing up around the area of the finger, and only when required.