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.

Wearables

Exclusive: This is Mobvoi’s next Wear OS smartwatch, and it likely adds 4G LTE

Mobvoi may not be a household name in the U.S., but it sells affordable smartwatches running Google's Wear OS platform. The company's next watch has leaked -- by Mobvoi itself -- and Digital Trends managed to snap a screenshot.
Mobile

Galaxy Fold's screen problems have mostly been fixed, Samsung says

The Samsung Galaxy Fold is real, but for how long? Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.
Mobile

Your smartphone knows all your secrets. Put it on lockdown with these tips

Having your smartphone hacked can feel like someone robbed your house. It's a massive invasion of privacy and a violation of your personal space. We've put together a checklist of precautions that will help you avoid this terrible fate.
Deals

The best iRobot Roomba deals to make cleaning your home a breeze

Keep your home clean without lifting a finger using a robot vacuum cleaner. These nine iRobot Roomba deals not only help you keep your home tidy, but many also come with advanced features such as automatic scheduling and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Mobile

Learn how to create a 360-degree panorama with your phone and Google Street View

Google Street View encourages you to explore the great outdoors, including landmarks, natural wonders, and even your own neighborhood. Learn how to create 360-degree imagery using your smartphone camera to add locations to Google Maps.
Deals

The Apple Watch Series 4 is still at its lowest price for Father’s Day

Sales are continuing on select Apple Watch at both Amazon and Walmart through Father's Day, including a deal on the 38mm Series 3 GPS that is one of the lowest prices we've seen yet, and the new and slightly larger 40mm Series 4.
Product Review

Samsung's $99 fitness tracker takes on Fitbit. Can it keep pace?

Samsung’s going toe-to-toe against Fitbit’s Inspire HR with its own $99 fitness tracker -- the Galaxy Fit. It also has a heart rate monitor, can automatically detect six workouts, and has a battery that can last for days.
Emerging Tech

This lifesaving wearable could diagnose strokes more accurately

A new breakthrough wearable device uses two light measurement techniques to track the body's blood circulation — and accurately predict deadly strokes in the process. Here's how it works.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for June 2019

Smartwatches make life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. If you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, here are the best smartwatch deals for June 2019.
Wearables

Samsung's $99 Galaxy Fit fitness tracker is now available in the U.S.

Looking for a new fitness buddy? Samsung just launched the Galaxy Watch Active and the Galaxy Fit, two new wearables with a raft of fitness-focused features that'll keep you moving and get you down to the gym.
Home Theater

Diagnose and fix some common Apple AirPods problems with our handy guide

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.
Deals

Fitbit Versa and Samsung Gear fitness smartwatches get big Amazon price cuts

Some of the best options can get pretty pricey, but with smartwatch discounts on the Fitbit Versa and Samsung Gear Sport, they are really quite affordable right now. You can save up to $125 on a new fitness watch.
Outdoors

The best smart helmets are full of cool tech, and totally worth the messy hair

Helmets might be a haircut's worst nightmare, but they're constantly evolving, and have undergone a 21st-century makeover. No matter your sport, here are the best smart helmets currently on the market.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Plant-based shoes and a ukulele learning aid

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!