Smartwatches Can Now Be Controlled by Touching Your Skin

May 9, 2016, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

One big problem with smartwatches is that they never get bigger. Smartphones are more preferred when the display gets bigger, but it’s just the opposite when it comes to wrist wearables.

The effect is that users don’t get to perform touch interactions smoothly over the tiny screen space available.

The Future Interfaces Group from Human-Computer Interaction Institute’s in Carnegie Mellon University has worked on a solution, and has eventually succeeded to bring in a working formula – take the touch interface out of the small screen onto the consumers’ skin.


The gadget is called SkinTrack, and it’s made up of two split components; a ring for your fingers, and a band for your wrists. Once you have these paired, interactions with your smartwatches can be made by just tapping over your skin on your arm or hand.

SkinTrack makes use of four electrodes attached to the watchband to calculate the distance between the ring continuously through the signal emitted by the ring. This is projected on to 2D spacing to replicate the movements made by the finger, and to transform those into smartwatch interactions.

Signals are emitted only when the finger wearing the ring touches the skin. It can also continuously emit signals so that drawings and doodles can also be mapped on to the smartwatch.

The better part of the gadget is that it comes in the form of daily wearables, so that users won’t feel like they are actually wearing a gadget. We now need to witness who picks up this technology to make some better interactions with their smartwatch devices.

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