Whether you like it or not, size matters.
At least where your smartwatch's touchscreen is involved.
That’s why researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Beijing’s ASU Tech built LumiWatch, a smartwatch that projects a touchscreen onto your arm.
While wrist wearables have been evolving in both form and function over the last couple years, their biggest issue remains a structural one. Namely, that there’s only so much screen the wrist can accommodate, enough for a clock face but arguably not enough for a worthy smartphone substitute.
The LumiWatch prototype expands that screen to 40 square centimeters, five times the average smartwatch size, according to a video posted by lead researcher Robert Xiao.
For comparison, the larger of the new Apple Watch Series 3 runs 42.5 x 36.4 x 11.4 mm. The LumiWatch runs noticeably larger, at 50 x 41 x 17mm.
Of course, that’s to account for the 150-lumen scanned-laser projector, a processing system that runs Android 5.1 and a battery that powers the projector for a full day of intermittent use (or one hour of continuous use), according to Wareable.
Most obvious pitfalls have been accounted for. Not convinced of the accuracy of the interface? The watch provides quick calibration via a swipe-to-unlock feature. Won’t sunlight interfere or obscure the projection? Nope, the pico projector is brighter.
But the biggest pitfall — moving this sophisticated gadget into the marketplace — is a ways from being overcome. The cost of the device at this early stage is around $600, but that doesn't mean much until a larger tech company swoops in and manufactures it.
For now, appreciate your screen-less body while you can.