The smartwatch is still a work in progress — they’re cool devices, to be sure, but voice controls are still being worked on, and controlling a device via the tiny touchscreen just isn’t efficient.
Thanks to Samsung, however, your next smartwatch could have another input method — the company has filed a patent for a smartwatch with a built-in projector capable of projecting an interactive display onto your hand. With this feature, instead of using the touchscreen on the actual watch, you’ll be able to control your watch using the projection on your hand.
According to the patent, the device would include a camera, processor, and projector that are able to map out the different areas of a wearer’s hand and project a display based on those parameters. For example, the device could project some buttons on each of your fingers.
An example given in the patent shows a map on the actual smartwatch display, with controls for maps being projected onto the wearer’s hand — maps are known to get a little tedious on smartwatches, so this could make them seriously easier to use.
“A wearable device typically has a smaller display screen than [those of] other terminal devices. Thus, accurately receiving touch input through a display screen or touch panel of a wearable device can be difficult because a user’s finger can be larger than a selection area on the screen, causing the user to accidentally select an incorrect icon or other displayed item,” reads the patent.
The patent isn’t just for smartwatches — it also extends to headsets, showing that Samsung may be looking to use the technology for virtual and augmented reality, too. The patent, for example, shows images being projected onto household items, allowing the user to interact with the images and control whatever they see in the headset.
It’s certainly an interesting way to interact with wearables. And while it would be nice to see voice controls a little more developed, a built-in projector could be very useful when using touch is necessary.