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Researchers show off ‘skin buttons’ for smartwatches

CMU's skin buttons demonstration

Carnegie Mellon University’s Future Interfaces Group has developed a system that will allow smartwatches to laser project icons representing device functions or notifications for missed calls and messages onto the wearer’s skin.

“To achieve this, we propose using tiny projectors that can be integrated into a smartwatch,” the group explains. “These icons can be made touch sensitive, significantly expanding the interactive region without increasing device size.”

“These ‘skin buttons’ can have high touch accuracy and recognizability, while being low cost and power-efficient,” says the group.

A video shows a proof-of-concept device and demonstrates example applications:

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