A patent filing has surfaced showing a concept smartwatch interface from Samsung, designed to project a touch-enabled display onto the back of the user's hand. While the existence of the patent is no way confirmation that we'll actually see product, it does present an interesting new take on the tricky issue of smartwatch control.
Today's smartwatch input is simple enough (usually a combination of touchscreen and buttons or dials), but manufacturers seem determined to try novel means to make the tiny-screened devices capable of deeper and more complex tasks.
A new patent from Samsung, published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) earlier this month, is a little more ambitious, detailing a smartwatch that's able to project a touch-enabled display onto the back of the user's hand. We've seen similar technology in the past, but never integrated into a wearable.
The concept device would be able to scan the back of the user's hand to detect the display area, before projecting various interactive panels onto it. Primarily, the extra display might be used to provide separate, more spacious keyboards and keypads.
The touch-enabled area could also serve as a larger canvas when using handwriting recognition for input, and certain applications show extra virtual buttons being displayed on the rear of the user's fingers.
The patent also takes things one step further, showing the concept smartwatch throwing projected panels up onto other surfaces, such as a keypad on a security door.
The new patent is, of course, in no way proof that Samsung is actually building such a device. It's just a concept for now, but it does show that the company is looking past the current conventions of how we interact with our wrist-based wearables.