Qualcomm and Extreme Reality 3D are also in the race
Microsoft and Apple have filed patents related to touchless gesture-controls for mobile devices that do not involve physical contact, in an effort to claim ownership of the technologies.
Apple’s designs involve allowing users to "throw" content from one device to another, while waving one’s hands to "draw" three-dimensional objects on a computer is Microsoft’s design, reported BBC News.
The patent would allow a firm to stop the other company from using the same gesture controls, or charge them a licence.
In addition to the two giants, less well known firms including Qualcomm and Extreme Reality 3D have also applied to secure touchless control patent rights.
The US Patent and Trademark Office has made the patent applications public.
According to Apple’s filing, entitled "Real Time Video Process Control Using Gestures", images on a a device, such as an iPhone, can be controlled without touching it.
The patent also describes the ability to transfer the pictures to one of the firm’s other products using contact-free hand movements, and suggests infrared, optical and other sensors would be used to detect the movements.
Microsoft’s filing details that the new technology would allow users to "draw" and manipulate virtual 3D objects by making a gesture near a device’s surface.