One problem with existing wearable technology is the fact that screens are very small, but Samsung may have come up with a solution.
A new patent filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) shows a wearable device with an integrated projector, which allows an interactive virtual display to be beamed onto the user’s hand or any other surface. Documents show a device containing a projector, camera and processor.
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Samsung files fascinating patent with USPTO
The device in question is able to map out the surface area of your hand and project a display onto it. This display could then be used to control the device. One example is a keypad that is projected onto the back of the hand, or a display which shows search results that are easier to read than on the screen of the device.
Smartwatch users have complained that using maps is an incredibly fiddly and frustrating process. However this projector technology would mean that using a map function would be made much easier.
“A wearable device typically has a smaller display screen than [those of] other terminal devices. Thus, accurately receiving touch input through a display screen or touch panel of a wearable device can be difficult because a user’s finger can be larger than a selection area on the screen, causing the user to accidentally select an incorrect icon or other displayed item,” explains the Samsung patent.
Technology could bring wearables to a larger market
According to the document, the wearable device would also be able to read input gestures from the projected display. You could possibly draw messages on the back of your hand and watch them appear on the screen.
Another possible use is the projection of menu options down your arm, or beaming your display onto a wall when you need to take a closer look at detailed images.
Samsung also extended the patent to include headsets. This could mean that the Korean tech giant is looking to implement the technology in virtual reality or augmented reality headsets.
The company deserves credit for looking into ways to improve the user experience of wearable devices. Wearable technology is currently limited to use as a fitness tracker or a secondary display unit for notifications.
Functionality could be greatly improved through the use of in-built projectors, and Samsung could find a way of making wearable technology desirable to a larger section of society.