Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have debuted a smartwatch that has a built-in projector, turning the wearer’s arm or hand into a touchscreen.
The LumiWatch is the first of its kind to use a a fully-functional laser projector and sensor array – and with 40 square centimeters of interactive surface, it’s roughly five times larger than a standard smartwatch.
The wearable device supports an Android operating system, and can connect to Bluetooth and WiFi.
The LumiWatch’s creators posted a video of the prototype smartwatch in action this week, demonstrating the swipe-to-unlock mechanism and the continuous 2D finger-tracking abilities.
The video shows the user unlocking the watch, opening apps, even editing photographs right on his arm.
If it eventually retails, the device is expected to cost around $600, cheaper than many current smartwatches on the market.
The 15-lumen projection laser is bright enough so that the screen can be seen outside during the day.
The LumiWatch contains a Qualcomm1.2 Ghz quad-core CPU with Android 5.1, 768MB of RAM, 4GB of memory, and a 740 mAh lithium-ion battery that can last an entire day with occasional use, according to the researchers.
‘Compact, worn computers with projected, on-skin touch interfaces have been a long-standing yet elusive goal, largely written off as science fiction,’ the researchers wrote.
‘Such devices offer the potential to mitigate the significant human input/output bottleneck inherent in worn devices with small screens,’ he continued.
‘In this work, we present the first, fully-functional and self-contained projection smartwatch implementation, containing the requisite compute, power, projection and touch-sensing capabilities.’