If your smartwatch’s teeny tiny face makes it tough to navigate the device, a futuristic tool reportedly in the works could put more control into your hands. A new Samsung patent filing shows a projector integrated into the smartwatch that expands the interactive area you can use to control your watch onto your body.

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Specifically, the technology would project interfaces such as a dialpad, keyboard or menu options onto the back of your hand or forearm, and you can touch those areas to input numbers, words or selections. Based on drawings accompanying the patent, the watch may even be able to project onto surfaces such as walls or doors to enlarge the virtual user interface.

The patent states that the wearable device would include an omnidirectional camera to detect a target area to use as a canvas along with an image projector. Samsung also indicated in the filing that this technology could also be used for head mounted displays, such as virtual reality headsets, to let the wearer display what they’re seeing on an object in their surroundings.

The projector would display “the virtual UI screen that is formed by reconfiguring the UI screen of the HMD device to correspond to a shape of at least one of the preset space,” according to patent filing.

My 2 cents:

Ok, hologram keyboards (albeit AMAZING) might not be the next smartwatch fix, but this is nonetheless important as it sheds light into where we are with smartwatches now, and where we could be down the line. Samsung and Apple are at strange crossroads in what one of the hotter categories that have popped up recently (along with autocars and vr/ar). Apple has a fashion statement of a watch but runs into the same iPad type issues: its an awesome piece of tech, but it isn’t all that useful and is prohibitively exclusive in that it requires buy into iOS. Samsung’s gear was more “watch-like” from the get go but that momentum is dying down. What’s worse though is the dozens of developers working on their smartwatches for Android. Yet necessity is the mother of invention and diagnosing current pain point and proposing a 10x solution is the type of invention that could be the turning point for the Gear: a watch that could put the phone and tablet to rest.

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