Smartwatches may let you view information at a glance without taking your phone out of your pocket. But the 1.5 inch screen on most smartwatches doesn’t give you a lot of room for writing, drawing, or even tapping and zooming.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon’s Future Interfaces Group have a solution: extend the touch surface to your arm.

That’s what their SkinTrack system does.


SkinTrack allows you to drag your fingertip across your forearm or hand to send signals to a smartwatch. It can detect swipe and tapping gestures, allowing you to navigate through applications, draw pictures, jot notes, scroll through lists, or perform other controls.

You can even create virtual shortcuts on your arm: tap one freckle and you can bring up a calendar. Another point can open a dialer app. Or you can draw an “S” to silence an incoming call.

The system works thanks to a series of four electrodes connected to the watchband and a signal-emitting ring that you wear on a finger. The electrodes can detect where your finger is along X and Y axises and send that information to the watch.

The researchers say the system is low-power and offers 99 percent accuracy. Of course, it’s only useful if the technology gets incorporated into future smartwatches or other wearable devices… and if you can be convinced to put on a ring that sends electric signals to your watch through your skin.

via Geeky Gadgets

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