Samsung has filed a patent for a "foldable electronic device" with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), which was published on May 20, 2021. The 110-page document describes a gesture-controlled Galaxy Z Fold smartphone, eliminating the physical buttons on the side of the phone. Instead, the phone will have a total of eight sensor controls embedded on each side for gesture control.
Users can choose to tap, swipe, squeeze and pinch around eight sensor controls to activate certain features of the phone. For example, users can activate a power switch function with a simple tap, a volume control function with a swipe, and more complex functions, such as opening a new browser window, by making a pinching gesture that recognizes multiple key inputs.
In addition, Samsung hopes to protect the hinge by introducing a gesture control system, because when the user presses a physical button on the side of the device, some external pressure is applied to the hinge, which can cause damage to the hinge. At the same time, foldable devices are getting thinner, making it increasingly difficult to leave enough space for physical buttons.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold isn't the only foldable phone with gesture control. Last month, Samsung filed a separate patent showing virtual buttons on the Galaxy Z Flip.