Technology 3 min read

LumiWatch Makes Your arm Into a Touchscreen

The LumiWatch, a skin-projected screen. | Image via Robert Xiao | Carnegie Mellon University

The LumiWatch, a skin-projected screen. | Image via Robert Xiao | Carnegie Mellon University

Thanks to its on-skin touchscreen, the soon to be released Lumiwatch could be the next step in smartwatch engineering. 

Researchers just published details on a fully-functional prototype smartwatch with an on-skin touchscreen that is five times bigger than most mobile displays.

Smart watches have attracted millions of users with easy access to useful real-time information on their wrist.

However, the display’s small size doesn’t make a convenient tool for some users.

Companies can make bigger screens for smartphones, for example, but they can’t do so with smartwatches, fitness trackers, and other wearables.

Simply put, bigger and better screens compromise the portability of these devices, which is their first asset, and at some point, they become too heavy for the wrist.

What about a smartwatch with a weightless, 40 square centimeter screen? Impossible, right? Not anymore.

LumiWatch, The Smartwatch With On-Skin Touchscreen

The concept of on-body interfaces and tactile screens appearing on the wearer’s skin have been titillating the imagination of scientists for decades.

The idea remained fraught with engineering uncertainties until Carnegie Mellon University researchers presented their new smartwatch called LumiWatch.

Beside other conventional specs, LumiWatch features a built-in on-skin display that turns your forearm or hand into a tactile interface.

In collaboration with ASU Tech Co. Ltd., CMU engineers built a fully functional prototype of LumiWatch with an interactive projection area 40 square centimeters in size, about five times bigger than typical smartwatch screens.

For comparison, the Apple Watch Series 3 comes with a 38mm or 42mm screen.

Read More: Wearable Ring Technology Allows Anyone to Write With Thumb

$600 to Turn Your Skin Into an Interactive Projection Interface

A lot of research and development legwork went into hardware and software sides of this invention, which you can find details of here

The team presented the LumiWatch concept at the CHI 2018 in Montreal, Canada.

The technical package of LumiWatch includes:

  • Quad-core 1.2 GHz CPU
  • 450MHz GPU
  • Android 5.1
  • 768 MB flash memory and 4 GB of storage.
  • Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi
  • A 740 mAh lithium-ion battery ensures one-hour continuous use or one day of occasional projection.

With a brightness of 15 lumens, LumiWatch’s laser projector output is visible even outdoors under sunlight. A set of ten proximity sensors detect finger movements.

The prototype is also self-contained, which means the system operates independently without the need of outside processors such as a smartphone or computer.

LumiWatch doesn’t just have a bigger display than the Apple Watch, it also comes with a heftier price tag

Developers estimate the LumiWatch to cost potential wearers around $600, which is actually reasonable when compared to other conventional devices in the market.

“Although obstacles remain for practical adoption, we believe our work demonstrates the first functional projection smartwatch system and constitutes a significant advance in the state of the art,” said researchers in their paper.

Will you buy the LumiWatch once it’s available for order?

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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