SkinTrack turns your whole forearm into a smartwatch interface

skintrack smartwatch interface
Future Interfaces Group
If you’re a smartwatch owner, you’re probably well aware of their pitfalls. While they’re getting better, they still rely too much on a tiny display in order to function. And while manufacturers could make smartwatch displays larger, that would lead to some very unfashionable devices. The solution? Turn your whole forearm into an interface.

Related: See here for the latest in wearable technology

That’s the idea behind Future Interfaces Group’s latest technology, called SkinTrack. With SkinTrack, a smartwatch includes a number of sensors, enabling it to treat your arm like a touch interface. Future Interfaces Group is a research lab based at Carnegie Mellon University.

The system basically works with a ring that’s worn on the finger and communicates with a sensor on the smartwatch. When the finger wearing the ring touches the skin near the watch, an electrical signal is sent through the arm. The watch is able to triangulate the location of the finger using the distance between the ring and a total of four sensors in the band of the watch.

There’s a ton of cool stuff you can do when you have your whole arm to interface with. Take a look at the video, and you’ll see apps being dragged onto your skin, which you can then tap on to return to the app. You can even use your arm to pull the slingshot further back in Angry Birds!

The system could also greatly expand the number of shortcuts available in a smartwatch — for example, we can see the user silencing a phone call simply by dragging out the letter ‘S’ on their skin. SkinTrack can even track your finger when it’s hovering above the skin.

“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 Ph.D. student working on the technology.

Of course, it will be some time before this tech is implemented into consumer devices, but at least there’s hope that we won’t have to try and interface with our watches using tiny screens alone for much longer.

Mobile

How to use iOS 12’s Passwords and Accounts tool to autofill passwords

Keeping track of all your passwords and accounts can be a real chore. If you use an iPhone with iOS 12, then you don't have to. Here's how to use iOS 12's own password manager to autofill passwords.
Social Media

Spice up your Instagram videos by adding your top tunes to the soundtrack

Have you ever taken a beautiful video, only to have it ruined by some jerk in the background yelling curse words? Here's a list of apps you can use to add your own music to Instagram posts as well as your Story.
Gaming

Play your games whenever you want with a MicroSD card for your Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch uses cartridge-based games, but its internal storage may fill up quicker than you would think. Here's what you should consider when picking out a MicroSD card to expand your Switch's storage capacity.
Mobile

Having trouble logging in? Here's how to reset your Apple ID password

To use any of Apple's services, you need to have an Apple ID and know your password. Thankfully, there are ways to deal with forgotten passwords and regain access to your account. Here's how to reset your Apple ID password.
Deals

Start your fitness journey with the best Fitbit deals available now

If you're ready to kick-start your fitness regimen (or just take your current one to the next level), we've created a quick rundown of the best, most current Fitbit deals to help you decide which one is best for you.
Product Review

Apple brought ECG tracking to consumers. Withings is making it affordable

The Apple Watch Series 4 starts at $400, and the highlight function is the electrocardiogram, which has the potential to save lives. Withings’ new Move ECG has the same capability but at a fraction of the cost.
Deals

Walmart slashes prices on the Fitbit Versa smartwatch and Charge 3

We are officially halfway through January, and for a lot of us, that means the struggle to stick to our New Year's resolutions is in full force. Walmart is offering some great discounts on Fitbits to help you stay on track.
Wearables

How to switch TicHealth to Google Fit on the Mobvoi TicWatch C2 and TicWatch Pro

The Mobvoi TicWatch C2 and TicWatch Pro are both much-loved and feature-packed watches, and they offer excellent fitness tracking. Recently, Mobvoi has switched out Google Fit for TicHealth, but you can switch them back. Here's how.
Android

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019: Complete Coverage

There's no bigger show for mobile tech geeks than Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: where flagship phones are born and intriguing new wearables shine. And this year, where foldable phones and 5G are likely to dominate the news. For…
Wearables

Omron HeartGuide brings blood pressure monitoring to your wrist

High blood pressure leads to heart attacks, strokes, and many other health problems, so it's important to keep an eye on. Omron's HeartGuide is a fitness tracking watch that can also monitor your blood pressure from your wrist.
Deals

REI slashes prices on Suunto, Garmin, and Fitbit Versa smartwatches

Though fitness trackers and smartwatches can get pretty pricey, REI is offering some sweet discounts on top brands. Right now, you can get a new smartwatch from Fitbit, Suunto, and Garmin for up to 35 percent off its normal price.
Wearables

Check out the four cool Swatch watches you can use for mobile payments

Swatch has announced its Swatchpay technology is now available in Switzerland, enabling mobile payments from your Swatch watch. It works in a similar way to Apple Pay and Google Pay. Here's everything about it.
Business

Google is buying mysterious smartwatch tech from The Fossil Group for $40 million

Google is about to step up its smartwatch game. The company has agreed to buy an unnamed smartwatch technology from The Fossil Group for a hefty $40 million. Considering the acquisition, it's clear Google is serious about smartwatches.