Lenovo looks to a future of big screen smartwatches, phone projectors and mood-broadcasting shoes
Lenovo has used its first global technology event to imagine a not-too-distant future where you gauge somebody's mood by their footwear, smartphones can be controlled via projected displays and smartwatch screens are stretched to 20 times their current size. At Lenovo Tech World in Beijing, the Chinese company went public with these concept devices, flagging intentions to position itself for an era of internet-connected everything.
Of the announcements made by Lenovo on Thursday, perhaps the most timely was the detailing of a smart watch concept dubbed Magic View. Just as Apple Watch owners around the world finish snapping their bands into place, the company has asked the question, do smartwatch displays really need to be that limited?
Sure these small screens are more than enough to see our notifications, track our steps, or even, you know, tell the time, but should we demand more from our wrist-worn companions? Lenovo's Magic View smart watch concept features an additional screen described as a "virtual interactive display." The company says this relies on "optical reflection" to create a virtual, immersive image more than 20 times the size of the regular watch display. It could be used to view photos or videos, but the wearer will need to hold the device right up to their eye to get the effect.
Lenovo also cranked up the quirkiness factor with a set of Smart Shoes. These would track fitness data, such as heart rate and calories burnt, but could potentially also provide maps and guide the wearer to their destination. The real centerpiece of the shoes, however, is a screen on the side that displays the wearer's mood, presumably deduced using the aforementioned data.
Around five years ago, Samsung toyed with the idea of integrating projectors with smartphones with its Galaxy Beam, though this wasn't met with a great deal of enthusiasm from consumers. But Lenovo is persisting with the idea. It's Smart Cast concept would see a phone equipped with a built-in laser projector and an infrared motion detector to offer a virtual touch screen.
Like the Celluon Epic, Smart Cast would let users to type on a virtual keyboard projected onto a flat surface, but it goes further, providing the ability to do things like punch the buttons of a virtual calculator, draw pictures or take handwritten notes. This of course is in addition to the ability to turn surfaces into screens for movies, TV shows and presentations.
You can see a demo of the Magic View smartwatch, Smart Shoes and Smart Cast concept devices in the videos below.