RESEARCHERS AT Carnegie Mellon University have managed to create a wrist-mounted touchless control using an old Android Wear smartwatch.
The team from the Future Interfaces Group overclocked the accelerometer in an LG G Watch (remember the square one? Ewww) and discovered that they were able to capture and process tiny movements, making a combined gesture tracker, data transmitter and ultra-sensitive activity tracker. Which sort of begs the question as to why no-one did it already.
As you can see in the video below, the watch, rechristened as the ViBand, is now sensitive enough to respond to flicks, taps and shakes, and even to other parts of your arm like an external keyboard.
There have been a few attempts at doing something similar at a commercial level, but with mixed results. One device, the Myo, is already being used for things as diverse as improving mobility to mixing a DJ set with no touching.
Theoretically, it can be used as an invisible mouse, but can tell the difference between that and, say, brushing your teeth, driving a car, or other hand-based activities.
All that has really changed inside is that the Linux kernel has been souped up to take 4,000 readings a second as opposed to the usual 100.
This is inevitably going to take more power, but it’s less than you’d think. It roughly halves the time between charges, meaning you can still get a good few hours out of it, which is a pretty good start for a blue sky idea.
There are currently no plans to make the ViBand available to the public - after all, it’s not really a product in its own right - but it does show the possibilities, as yet untapped, of the smartwatch market, which has tanked in recent months.
We always knew the LG G Watch was a stubborn little fella - it’s already been modded to run Windows XP. µ
And it'll undercut Apple HomePod when it comes to price
Report claims there will be a five-month wait following MWC unveiling
Welcome to the dystopia Black Mirror warned us about
Microsoft in 'more helpful' shock