Smartwatches presents just as much problems as it tries to solve. Unlike traditional watches, they can do a lot more. But like those watches, they are hindered not just by the size of their display but also by their fixed position. This has made trying to look at smartwatches in some contexts not just inconvenient but sometimes even impossible. That is why researchers from Dartmouth College and the University of Waterloo have developed a smartwatch prototype that can move on its own to give you, or even someone else, the best view of the watch face.
Yes, you read that right. This smartwatch moves. In fact, it moves in five different ways. It rotates on its central axis, move inward and outward from your wrist, rises up, hinges up and down, and even orbits around your wrist. These movements can be used alone or together to introduce new ways to use a smartwatch.
Ever got into a situation where you need to see the time or notification on your smartwatch but couldn’t twist your wrist because you were holding something? By orbiting along the wristband, the smartwatch could move to face you and show you that. Howe about when the watch is hidden under a sleeve and you other hand is preoccupied? Simple. The watch slides out of your cuffs.
The movements can also be used to match certain types of notifications. Emergency calls can make the watch face twist and turn to call attention, or a food delivery notification can make the watch chomp like Pac-man. The watch can also be used like a compass while keeping the display contents at the right orientation, or flip open to let your friend see that photo you secretly took earlier.
The idea might sound useful, but the researchers are still a few good steps away from making it look not so atrocious. It’s a prototype in the truest sense of the word. It does, however, bring to light the limitations of the smartwatch display and the opportunities for innovation in that area.
VIA: Eureka Alert