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A Smart Watch Controlled By Twists, Tilts, and Clicks

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The prototype smart watch.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University developed a prototype smart watch whose face can be clicked, tilted, and twisted by moving the bezel.

Credit: Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) researchers say they have developed a better way to control smart watches by enabling users to physically tilt, click, and twist the watch's bezel. Their method could make it easier to set up appointments, play music, or navigate a map on a tiny display.

The smart watch is equipped with a 1.5-inch display that sits in front of an ARM processor, and two Hall-effect displacement sensors that measure movements of the screen along two different axes. The watch is connected to a computer with software that processes the user's interactions and runs an app that is shown on the watch face.

Although the prototype watch looks bulky, a commercial smart watch with this kind of functionality could be made with pressure sensors instead of mechanical ones, notes CMU professor Chris Harrison. He says when developing the device the researchers tried to follow certain rules, such as designing the watch so users would not have to lift their fingers from the screen while using it.

Their work was detailed at the recent ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Toronto.

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