Google has filed a patent that would allow users to control their tech by tapping and swiping their own skin.
Google’s patent for a “skin interface for wearables” was spotted by LetsGoDigital and includes diagrams showing both a smartwatch and a pair of earbuds being controlled by the skin.
The patent describes a technology that would let users control the wearables by making a tapping or swiping gesture next to the device on their own skin. This would then create a mechanical wave, the movement of which would be detected by sensors and an accelerometer.
In this case, Google would use Sensor Fusion technology, which would combine the data from multiple sensors for better accuracy.
According to the report, users would be able to swipe vertically or horizontally, do shorts and long taps and tap with single or multiple fingers to cover a wide variety of functions. The movements are comparable to how touch screens and touchpads work right now – just done directly on the skin.
It appears functions could also vary depending on which part of the body the user touches, as long as those areas remain close enough to the device.
The wearables will apparently be capable of distinguishing between intentional taps and swipes and other movements, such as nodding, scratching and talking, to prevent the user from accidentally activated their smartwatch or earbuds this way.
The most obvious benefit to this feature is that users would have a larger touch area to play with than the small space on their earbuds, though it could also prevent users from pushing earbuds out of place when tapping or swiping.
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Of course, this isn’t the first time Google has experimented with gesture controls. The company launched Project Soli on the Pixel 4 three years ago in an attempt to make gesture controls happen, but the feature has since been dropped from newer Pixel phones, including the most recent Pixel 6.
While its interesting to see Google experiment with new ways to control its smart devices, its good to note that this is just a patent so there’s a large chance it’ll never come to fruition.
We’ll have to wait for the launch of the Pixel Watch or the next Pixel Buds to see if it makes an appearance.