SkinTrack Technology Turns Your Arm into a Touchscreen

By: Kassidy Coleman

With technology being more and more integrated into our lives, it makes sense that smartwatches and wearables have been rising in popularity. In theory, smartwatches are really cool pieces of technology to have on your wrist, but let’s be honest – they have a lot of limitations due to their size being so small.

(Photo source: Future Interfaces Group via YouTube)

Well, developers at Carnegie Mellon University have been searching for solution and have found a way to expand the smartwatch screen for us with technology called SkinTrack. The developers at CMU have found a way to turn your entire lower arm into a touchscreen. The developers demonstrated the capabilities of SkinTrack in a video to show how it could one day be integrated in our day-to-day lives. This technology is not only safe and practical but also doesn’t require much on the user’s end.

However, this isn’t the first time this type of product has been tried out. Other researchers have tried utilizing tedious “smart” textiles, or projector/camera combinations to get the same kind of effect, but have failed due to it being too complicated for the average user. SkinTrack is a little different due to its relatively simple setup of only requiring you to wear the watch and ring.

(Photo source: Future Interfaces Group via YouTube)

In order to get it to work, the special ring is worn which induces a low-energy, high-frequency signal through the skin when your finger touches the skin surface communicates to the watch (It sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is). The video released by the developers show it being used to draw, scroll through lists on the smartwatch, and as a functional game controller. The researchers have found that this compares similarly to traditional touchscreen accuracy. It might sound dangerous to have a “high frequency signal” emitted into your skin, but currently there is no evidence to suggest that this technology has any negative health effects.

Although there are so many possibilities for SkinTrack, it does have some limitations. For example, it is difficult to keep the ring powered if worn for long periods of time. Also, due to our bodies constantly changing (i.e. sweating and moving), the signals have also have a hard time staying consistently calibrated. It is still a really cool concept though and could most definitely be utilized in future gadgets.

Do you think we will see more of this type of technology in the near future? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Twitter!


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One Response to SkinTrack Technology Turns Your Arm into a Touchscreen

  1. Why is Samsung patenting this technology?

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