SkinTrack: Innovation turns your arm into a touch-input surface for smartwatch
Smartwatches are a good way to interact with your applications like texting, navigating through music menus or even playing games like Angry Birds. But they come with one disadvantage which can be attributed to their small size. This disadvantage being the difficulty to navigate on small screen size. Mobile devices have the freedom to go big or small, but a smartwatch cannot be bigger than an acceptable size as it won’t look appealing. Keeping this predicament in mind, the team of researchers at the Future Interfaces Group have come up with a very interesting solution. Using your arm and hand skin surface as an input platform to make it easy for you to interact with applications on your smartwatch.
The current prototype smartwatch that they have developed is called “SkinTrack”, and the team over at Future Interfaces Group successfully demonstrated what they wanted from it. This wearable pairs up with an advanced ring-like device which calculates the distance between electrodes on the watchband and the ring itself. This gives accurate positioning of finger on the skin surface at any instance of time, and therefore can be used for any number of applications that require touch input from your smartwatch.
In this case, the prototype watchband can be worn on the wrist, and then user can interact with application like music player or a game for instance. Swipe up or down on your arm/hand to navigate through the song list and left or right swipe to exit or enter song play mode. Similarly, one can play a game like Angry Birds, pulling the bird with a left swipe on the arm and then releasing it. Other things like entering a command “M” to open the music player or simply placing the app icons virtually on the area can also be done.
According to the developers;
Keeping the ring powered up is a challenge. Signals also tend to change as the device is worn for long periods, thanks to factors such as sweat and hydration and the fact the body is in constant motion.
This innovation clearly promises a lot for wearables like smartwatches and with time it is bound to improve in functionality. For now Future Interfaces Group wants to take things forward with this intuitive wearable device.