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article imageSamsung patents smartwatch that projects display onto your hand

By James Walker     May 16, 2016 in Technology
Samsung has developed a concept smartwatch that projects an image of its display onto the wearer's hand. The idea increases the size of the display, letting developers create more complex apps and allowing users to type with more precision.
The small displays of smartwatches restrict their usefulness for many people. Despite being able to respond to a message from your wrist, it's usually quicker to just pull out your phone and type a few words there. A Samsung patent filing suggests the company is evaluating ways of circumventing this problem, including developing a smartwatch with an integrated projector.
The device would project its display onto the wearer's hand, forearm or wrist from an opening on the side. An integrated camera would sense the location of the user's finger, allowing the smartwatch to recognise "taps" on the projected display. You could interact with your watch by pressing "buttons" on your hand.
Samsung smartwatch projector concept
Samsung smartwatch projector concept
Samsung
Samsung described the system in its patent: "The wearable device includes an image projector configured to project a virtual user interface (UI) screen, a camera configured to capture an image, and a processor configured to detect a target area from the image captured by the camera, control the image projector to project the virtual UI screen … and perform a function corresponding to a user interaction that is input through the virtual UI screen."
Example scenarios provided by Samsung include a dial pad, menu system and notifications pane. The enlarged display size would enable developers to create apps with a greater information density and more detailed text while allowing users to press buttons with more accuracy.
Samsung's patent filing also shows the system being used to project a writing surface onto a user's hand. This would emulate scribbling on your hand with a pen, instead saving your notes to the cloud for use across multiple devices.
Samsung smartwatch projector concept
Samsung smartwatch projector concept
Samsung
Giving smartwatch users access to a larger screen could convince consumers sceptical of wearables to consider adopting the technology. The limited functionality of current models hasn't made them the must-have hit experienced by the smartphone industry.
Some devices do include integrated keyboards but these are often fiddly to type on. Many others, including the Apple Watch, don't have a keyboard at all, instead forcing you to pick from a set of predetermined replies or try and get voice dictation to work accurately.
Samsung smartwatch projector concept
Samsung smartwatch projector concept
Samsung
Asides from smartwatches, the projector could be useful in other situations too. Samsung's patent covers use of the technology for virtual and augmented reality headsets as well as wearables, boosting display size by projecting onto nearby walls.
As interesting a concept as this may be, the patents do not mean Samsung is actively developing this technology. It could be investigating ways to differentiate its Galaxy Gear smartwatches from the crowd or simply envisioning future computer interaction methods.
More about Samsung, Patent, smartwatches, smartwatch, wearables
 
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