Do you know what’s better than one touchscreen? Two touchscreens. Or so that’s the thoughts of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and ASU Tech, who have unveiled a new smartwatch prototype that turns your arm into a touchscreen with a tiny projector that could one day complement a smartwatch’s regular display.
The LumiWatch as it’s called is the first device of its type. It’s a self-contained device with smartwatch internals and a projector with a red, blue, and green interface. You swipe on your arm to unlock the device, and apps are then displayed on your arm. It sounds cool, and it is.
“Although obstacles remain for practical adoption,” the researchers wrote in a paper, “we believe our work demonstrates the first functional projection smartwatch system and constitutes a significant advance in the state of the art,”
So, how does it work?
The LumiWatch has a projector with three lasers of red, blue and green. These display a projection of the user interface onto your arm. 2D finger tracking software then reads and logs finger input, allowing you to interact with the projection.
The watch has a 15 lumen scanned-laser projector that’s bright enough to be seen outdoors in direct sunlight. It's powered by a Qualcomm 1.2 Ghz quad-core processor paired with 768MB of RAM. There’s 4GB of onboard storage and a 730 mAh battery. The creators say that with continuous projection, the LumiWatch lasts for around an hour on a single charge but will get through a day with intermittent use.
Connectivity wise, the LumiWatch has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy. It’s designed to connect to your smartphone and deliver push notifications.
When can I bag myself one?
Unfortunately, because it’s a prototype, you can’t bag yourself a LumiWatch. If you must have something similar, consider the Ritot smartwatch. The creators of that device smashed their funding requirements on Indiegogo. Although, it only projects information onto a wrist and doesn’t allow you to interact with that information.