Smartwatch display on your arm? Samsung has a vision

May 15, 2016 by Nancy Owano

Credit: USPTO

(Tech Xplore)—Ouch. The question that some consumers pose when looking at smartwatch ads is, Why? Market research indicates that those who stay back from buying these wearables have various reasons, one of which is that they feel they can carry out daily functions such as picture gazing, text reading and messaging on their smartphone, and their smartphone is enough.

Another point they raise is that the watch carries a small-sized screen, nice for raw numbers during fitness workouts but that is it.

Enter Samsung, eager to think about why smartwatches in general are being overlooked as having no impressive value proposition, and just as eager to think outside the confines of the smartwatch screen.

Samsung filed a patent application in turn, first in November 2014, that involves a smartwatch with projector beaming a user interface on to your skin, such that it is your skin that can also serve as a display screen.

PhoneArena is one of numerous tech-watching sites recently that looked at the patent document where Samsung presented its concept, namely a smartwatch with an interface that expands the scope, whereby the user can project a screen display.

"The listing describes a smartwatch, which would be able to scan and recognize the physical shape of objects around it, then use a set of internal projectors to beam a virtual user interface on nearby surfaces. Or, to put it bluntly, it can project its interface on top of the user's wrist, forearm, or even place virtual buttons on their fingers."

Credit: USPTO

PhoneArena said Samsung in the patent discussion presented examples such as dialpad, large keyboard and map navigation projected on the top of a wrist.

Menu items could be beamed across the length of the user's arm alternatively. Photo sensors would help figure out where the user was tapping.

Phandroid said the projected image could be used to display secondary information, almost like a larger secondary display.

But how would this technology really work? Mihai Matei, staff writer, Android Headlines, explained.

"In other words, a small projector beams certain UI elements onto the user's skin, a camera keeps an eye on and 'reads' the user's interaction with the beamed UI, and the information is them processed by a chipset and translated into actions.

Alex Brokaw in The Verge talked about the sketches that Samsung included. He said they show "a smartwatch projecting a dial pad, notifications, menu options, and even a writing surface onto the back of a person's hand and forearm. A wearer is seen interacting with these interfaces outside the smartwatch."

So when can we see the with its brave new UI concept in action? It is not possible to predict a date. It is not possible to predict an "if" leave a lone a "when." Nonetheless, writing in HackRead, Uzair Amir observed that "Innovation and out-of-the-box thinking have remained the trademark of Samsung."

Explore further: Doppio: Researchers unveil dual screen smartwatch

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