Users need to be able to interact with wearable devices in ways that are easy, intuitive, and precise. It’s not difficult to add touchscreen functions to a small display like a smartwatch, but the small size can make it difficult for interactions to be easy or precise.
A company called Qeexo has come up with a way to extend touchscreen functionality. With ties to the Futures Interfaces Group at Carnegie Mellon, they have added additional contexts for touch interaction. Their FingerSense algorithms are capable of distinguishing between the typical pad of a finger tip and other inputs, such as a knuckle, a fingernail, or even a stylus. By sensing the part of the finger (or stylus) used for an input, the user interface designer can use different contexts that make different commands available. For example, a tap with a knuckle could call up a menu of options, while a finger tip tap might execute a different command.
While the system is initially developed for smartphones and tablets, the same approach could be useful for wearable devices with small displays. The company has also developed a system that can detect the angle of the finger used to contact the display, which could also help make more effective and efficient touch interfaces for wearable devices.