While Iron Man‘s badass smart watch can open up and transform into a repulsor beam-armed glove in the blink of an eye, current smart watches offered by makers like Apple and Samsung are a lot less Starky. In real-life, smart watches are only in their nascent stages of development, and new tech that should make them much more appealing is just around the corner. New tech like SkinTrack, a system currently in development at Carnegie Mellon University that can be incorporated into smartphones, and turns your entire arm into a touchpad.
Discover recently reported on SkinTrack, after Carnegie Mellon’s Future Interfaces Group (or FIG) presented their research at the Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, and released a corresponding video describing the tech (seen above).
SkinTrack utilizes two additional components added onto a standard touch screen smart watch: a signal-emitting ring and a sensing band. The signal-emitting ring sends out a high-frequency electrical signal through a person’s skin, which is then picked up by electrodes in the sensing band. And depending on the difference in the phase of the ring’s signal, the position of the fingertip can be determined and then translated into a command in one of the smart watch’s applications.
The video shows tons of different ways this kind of arm-touchpad could be used to augment the usefulness of a smart watch’s touch screen, including easier, more efficient ways to play games (like Angry Birds), dial phone numbers, and expand the smart watch’s home screen by placing application icons on your arm.
No time frame on the tech is given in the video or its description, although it seems like it’s well on its way towards realization. As far as smart watches turning into repulsor beam-armed gloves that can also block bullets though, we’ll probably have to wait a lot longer before a company (and the laws of physics), makes those a reality.
But you can make your thoughts on this touchpad tech a reality right now by commenting below!
Images: CMU Future Interfaces Group