New Tech Turns Your Skin into a Touch Pad

Sunday, May 15, 2016 - 11:44

A research team at the Future Interfaces Group, a Carnegie Mellon University research lab has released a new tech that is turning your skin into additional screen real estate.

According to Verge , one of the biggest challenges with smartwatches is trying to navigate through apps on a relatively tiny screen so they might require a little more space.

The new tech for solving this problem works by wearing a signal-emitting ring on the finger of your opposite (non-watch) hand and a sensing band attached to the smartwatch. When the finger on the ring hand touches the skin, it sends a high-frequency signal that spans the width (and length) of your arm. From there, the sensor just calculates the distances between itself and the finger with the ring.

"The great thing about SkinTrack is that it’s not obtrusive; watches and rings are items that people already wear every day," said Yang Zhang, a first-year Ph.D. student at CMU who worked on the technology.

This system is capable of continuous tracking, thus providing the ability to add gesture-based control, as well as the ability to sign your name to a document, or even create hot key commands.

There are currently no plans for commercializing this technology, but given the heavy emphasis on wearables, it could spur new ideas by watch manufacturers that further improve how we interact with our smart devices.

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