It may look ordinary, but this smartwatch is also a wrist-worn drone controller

hug smartwatch news
Smartwatches don’t have to be all about notifications and looking like Dick Tracy, with the right ideas, they can go way beyond those basic elements. This is the Hug smartwatch, and the comprehensive sensor array inside means can use gestures to control anything from a video game to a drone, all just by moving your wrist.

Developed by Indian tech startup Hug Innovations, the watch was revealed at Microsoft’s Future Unleashed event in New Delhi, and was built using Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. Inside is a nine-axis sensor — including an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer — controlled by a brain that is supposed to understand what you want to control, without having to be told.

That’s because the watch recognizes single-use commands, such as stopping or advancing video playback, or switching on the light, and more complicated continuous movements. This is where it starts to get cool, because just by moving your arm around, it’s possible to fly a drone, guide a remote control car, or play games using a computer or Oculus Rift. It’s even possible to program in a special distress gesture that when used, automatically places an emergency call on your phone.

Outside of the gesture controls, which makes the Hug smartwatch a little like the Myo wristband, the watch isn’t the most attractive we’ve ever seen, nor the most technically impressive. The LCD screen measures 1.6-inches and has a 240 x 240 pixel resolution, which is the same size but lower resolution than the one found on the Sony Smartwatch 3, encased in a 46 gram, 11mm thick plastic body.

In addition to working with Microsoft, the Hug smartwatch is also a MediaTek Labs project, and uses the processor manufacturer’s LinkIt platform, along with a MediaTek processor. It doesn’t use Android Wear, but Nucleus RTOS, which makes it compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows devices. There’s not much talk of apps at this time, but it does come with fitness tracking and a heart-rate monitor, a music player (and some onboard storage space), a weather app, navigation, plus call and message features too.

The Hug smartwatch is expected to launch in India through online retailer Flipkart soon, where it’ll cost the equivalent of around $120.


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