New Horizons

Samsung Plans for Smartwatches to Extend Beyond Wrist

August 28, 2016

It seems you have a smart everything these days. Smartphones, smart textiles, smartphones. All have started to hit our markets as we try to find new ways to integrate technology into our day to day lives more seamlessly. We’ve already mentioned how smartphones, tablets and similar devices may well come to replace PCs and laptops as our technology of choice, and Samsung has tried to capitalise on that with its new line of smartphones. Essentially all the convenience of your smartphone on a snazzy looking wrist strap.

One of the main problems with regular smart phones and tablets is that they’re not always immediately accessible. In the former case they’re often buried somewhere in your pocket, whereas in the latter it may be stored away in a bag. Either way, it’s something of an effort to retrieve it, especially if the reason you want to use your phone is somewhat trivial, like checking the time or the date of an important meeting.

Samsung’s smartphone, as well as other models of the device, seek to address this by placing the device on the wrist where it’s easily accessible. However, this runs into a snag – in order to fit snugly on the wrist without causing too much obstruction, the screen needs to be rather compact. This often makes it far too small to be used effectively, and rather than have to deal with the fiddly controls and icons, many smartwatch owners will simply give up and use their phones again instead.

This rather defeats the purpose of the smartwatch, needless to say.

The bright idea therefore is to try and extend the screen via a holographic display that runs further up along the user’s arm against the skin. This projected “screen” can then be used to navigate through the device and make use of its apps and functions. It should be pointed out that this is just a concept right now – Samsung hasn’t promised a release until they know they can both make it and make it affordable.

Frankly we’re just surprised it’s taken this long. The technology behind a projected display for smartwatches isn’t exactly brand new out of the packet. Pranav Mistry was showing off similar AR tech as far back as 2009 at a TEDIndia conference, and what he was doing back then makes the idea of a small projected screen rather small fry in comparison.

So after seven years in which this technology was readily available, why is Samsung only just utilising it?

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