People love the idea of smartwatches, but hate the interface - tiny touchscreens with fiddly controls make for a less-than-enjoyable experience. So a lab at Carnegie Mellon University has fixed the problem with a device that turns the wearer’s skin into a touch interface.
That's right… Called ‘SkinTrack,’ the Future Interfaces Group has actually expanded the touch surface beyond the watch, out onto your wrist and hand.
How does it work? A ring, worn on the non-watch hand, emits a “high-frequency AC signal” to a connected sensing wristband, fitted with electrodes. When the ring finger touches the watch-wearing hand, a signal is sent to the watch and its sensing wristband, allowing the skin navigation of the device.
So far, we have a few commands to play with - such as tracing letters to open up apps (‘F’ for Facebook for example), signing for documents, and dragging apps onto your skin to create what they call “spatial shortcuts.” Beyond this, games can be controlled too, dragging the Angry Birds catapult off the screen and onto your wrist.
Described as “compact, non-invasive, low-cost and low-powered,” the tech is not available to buy yet. But the potential here is obvious. “We envision the technology being integrated into the future smartwatches, supporting rich touch interactions beyond the confines of the small touchscreen,” they commented on their video.
Do you see a future here? Colour me excited at the fact you’re not mucking about with a stupidly small UI!
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I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.