A new research prototype may one day be the UI for future smartwatches. Lumiwatch by researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University in the US fitted a projector onto a smartwatch which projects a touch-sensitive UI onto the user’s forearm.
The Lumiwatch itself is a self-contained unit that is no larger than a typical smartwatch. Instead of a touchscreen, it houses a laser projector on the side paired with a depth sensor. Thanks to these two sensors, all actions usually done on the screen are instead on the forearm of the user. This includes picking up gestures and tapping on buttons.
While the projector is only 15-lumens, it is bright enough to be seen outside. Plus the projector can project the UI up to 40 square cm in size – enough to cover the whole forearm. Other specs of the watch include a Qualcomm 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU with Android 5.1, 768MB of RAM, 4GB of memory, WiFi/Bluetooth, and a 740 mAh lithium-ion. Researchers say that the battery can last for one hour of continuous usage, or the whole day with occasional use.
With the help of ASU Tech Co. Ltd, Carnegie Mellon University managed to develop the smartwatch to fit an estimated retail cost of about US$600 (RM 2,350). Of course, seeing this is still a research project, it is not as polished as it can be; the team is still in the midst of perfecting both the hardware and software before going mass market.