The biggest downside to smartwatches is their tiny displays, but Samsung is working to change that. The South Korean company has patented a near wearable that projects a larger user interface onto the back of your hand.
Samsung’s filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office describes a device that is capable of identifying the shape of your hand, and then using a tiny projector to beam a user interface onto to display more information and larger controls.
A camera built into the watch then detects how your other hand interacts with that interface.
Samsung’s diagrams show the interface being used to provide a zoomed view of a map displayed on the watch, and a larger dial pad. They also suggest that parts of the UI could even be projected onto the back of fingers, extending it even further.
It seems like a pretty crazy idea, and there are plenty of hurdles Samsung will have to overcome to make this possible — like battery life limitations. But if it can do that, this is one way to make smartwatches infinitely more useful than they are now.
By using your hand as a secondary display, you could use your smartwatch to reply to text messages and emails, play games, and even watch videos — all of which are incredibly difficult to do on existing devices due to their size.