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Control The Smartwatch With A Small Sensor

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Control The Smartwatch With A Small Sensor
Control The Smartwatch With A Small Sensor

Video: Control The Smartwatch With A Small Sensor

Video: Control The Smartwatch With A Small Sensor
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Smartwatches are practical. You wear them directly on your body, they are stylish and you can use numerous other activities such as navigation in addition to reading the time. If it weren't for the disadvantage of operation: the touchscreen of the devices is so small that it is not easy to operate them. Computer scientists at Saarland University have now developed a sensor that can be used to control mobile devices. Users should be able to wear the pea-sized button in a ring or bracelet like a piece of jewelry on their bodies.

Smartwatch controls pea-sized sensor

"With mobile devices such as the smartwatch, the screens are so small that you can only trigger a few control commands with a single touch," explains Jürgen Steimle, professor for human-machine interaction at Saarland University. With his research group, he is looking for new ways to operate small mobile devices on the body as inconspicuously and quickly as possible.

The sensor that the researchers have now developed for this is just one centimeter in diameter and can be deformed like a tiny balloon. Inside, an infrared light emitting diode illuminates the changeable membrane. The light is reflected and measured by four photodiodes. This measured value can be used to calculate how the sensor is being deformed.

The challenge was to develop gestures that intuitively control mobile devices. The researchers developed the three basic forms of pushing, pushing and pinching, which can be carried out precisely with the fine motor skills of the fingertips. To test their idea, the researchers integrated the sensor into a ring, a bangle and an amulet that is barely larger than a 50 cent piece. The test subjects should use the sensor to control a smartwatch and glasses that can be used to immerse themselves in virtual reality. The Saarbrücken computer scientists had this tested by 24 people, a total of over 18,000 times. Your results are clear, Weigel explains: "Despite the tiny surface, the interactions are precise and expressive,because they take advantage of the precise motor skills of the fingertip and use the three basic forms of pushing, pushing and pinching."

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Human skin as an input surface

In a previous research project, Steimle and his colleague Martin Weigel have already demonstrated that human skin is also suitable for input. During this study, they got the idea for the current project. "We found that our study participants not only performed the familiar smartphone gestures from their skin, but also shifted the skin or squeezed it with two fingers to operate mobile devices," reports Martin Weigel.

Further research led her to a sensor that is supposed to make robotic hands more sensitive. "Even if the sensor was developed for robotics, we found the small size promising for mobile devices worn on the body," explains Weigel. Professor Jürgen Steimle is convinced: “If only a tiny sensor has to be deformed for the inputs, devices can be worn on parts of the body that enable quick and unobtrusive operation. This will help industry to bring even smaller control units onto the market.”