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article imageSmartwatch extends touch display to skin

By Tim Sandle     May 20, 2018 in Technology
For those seeking more from their smartwatch, a new development extends the display projected from the watch onto the arm of the wearer. This not only offers a wider display; it also provides more interactivity.
The new device is called the LumiWatch and it has been developed by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University. The watch has been produced as a proof-of-concept study, which could pave the way for the production of watches on a commercial scale (should the concept prove popular).
The functionality of the watch has been set out in a new white paper, under the heading “LumiWatch: On-Arm Projected Graphics and Touch Input". The paper describes two key features. The first is the core technology, which is a pico-projector that uses the wearer's skin to expand the smartwatch's display area. Here the LumiWatch generates rectified graphics. These can be calibrated onto the forearm's projection area via a straightforward swipe-to-unlock action. The second feature is a more intuitive touch interactivity.
The LumiWatch, according to EE News, smartwatch is capable of augmenting the skin on the user’s forearm or hand. The projection is inherently more intuitive to touch than comparable technology, allowing the user to interact with a small artificial display area through tactile feedback.
The on-skin projection wristwatch features a 15-lumen scanned-laser projector, which was custom built by the researchers. The projector was designed using three lasers coupled with a pair of specially designed mirrors. This is integrated with a 10-element 1D ToF depth-sensing array. The array helps to determine the user's finger position on the skin, as the user interacts with the projected display.
The video below shows the device in action:
In terms of other technical details, the smartwatch is built around a Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi-capable Qualcomm APQ8026 system-on-chip, which is equipped with a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU and a 450MHz GPU.
The prototype design runs on Android 5.1. In trials it was found to operate for one hour in continuous projection mode (at 2.7W maximum level brightness). This is powered by a 740mAh, 3.8V lithium-ion battery. The LumiWatch also comes with 768MB of RAM and 4GB of flash memory. Inside the casing is an inertial measurement unit together with an ambient light sensor.
Details of the watch have been presented to the 2018 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2018).
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