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The Skintrack is a new emerging technology that allows smartwatch users to transform the surface of the arm into an interactive touch pad. Developed by a research lab at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh called Futures Interfaces Group, the Skintrack uses a ring and a sensor to make the entire arm an interactive screen for the smartwatch. This eliminates the annoyance of trying to input commands into the small surface of a smartwatch screen, one of the main issues regular smartwatch users in the IT services field face.
High frequency electric signals make the technology behind the Skintrack possible. The technology is powered by four separate electrodes inside the ring and the sensor, which is placed on the smartwatch strap while the ring is worn. The electrodes within the ring transmit safe, high-frequency electric signals once the finger touches the arm skin. These signals are received by the electrodes within the sensor. This allows the technology to calculate the exact position of the finger on the arm’s surface, and use that space as a touch pad surface.
How does it work?
Users can swipe or tap the surface of the arm to interact with the watch. The Skintrack accommodates simple or complex commands to give users a full range of actions. They can draw a photo on the arm that shows up on the smartwatch screen, make or answer calls and update social media channels. There are even hotkey commands, such as drawing a letter S on the skin to silence an incoming call. App shortcuts can be dragged from the watch screen to sit on the surface of the arm. The technology is totally safe for the human body and poses no threat to overall health.
While the Skintrack has certainly piqued the interest of smartwatch users around the world, getting one to use in everyday life is not possible just yet. The technology is still being developed, with no solid plans for a commercial release for the general public. Currently, the team behind the Skintrack is working to perfect the battery life of the ring and minimize interruptions to the signal while the user is in motion. While there is no release date or estimated price for the technology, commercial plans could come in time as these small issues with the technology are resolved.
As smartwatch usage becomes more widespread, so will the demand for technologies like the Skintrack, which allow users to use smartwatches more easily.