In 2022, most of the wearable devices out there are controlled by voice, touch or buttons. However, the documentation submitted by Google mentions that methods like touching or pressing a button can disturb the position of a wearable device, whether it is an earbud or a smartwatch. That, in turn, can affect its performance. However, using skin gestures that do not disturb the position of a device could provide a better user experience.
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Let’s Go Digital recently discovered a patent that talks about “Skin Interface for Wearables: Sensor to improve signal quality.” The patent was filed by Google back in 2020 with the World Intellectual Property Office. It contains a total of 27 pages that talk about how users can control wearable devices like wireless earbuds and smartwatches via gestures on the skin. In other words, the Google patent talks about a technology that will allow users to tap on their skin near a wearable device to control it.
How Will The Skin Gestures On Google Wearable Devices Work?
Google describes the process of controlling a wearable device with the help of skin gestures. Firstly, users would swipe or tap on their skin near the device. This would generate a mechanical wave that sensors and accelerometers would detect on the device. Upon recognition of the wave using ‘Sensor Fusion‘ technology, the device would convert it into an input signal, which would then perform the designated task. In addition, Google mentions that the skin interface would use machine learning to distinguish between intentional and accidental gestures. Manufactures could use this technology on earbuds as well as smartwatches.
On the Pixel Buds, skin gestures could work by tapping in front of the earbuds on the outer earlobe. Whereas, on the Pixel Watch, users could tap on their wrist close to their smartwatch. The control gestures would be simple as well. Let’s consider the practical use cases of such a technology. Users swipe vertically or horizontally on their skin near the earbuds to increase or decrease the volume. Additionally, they would be able to tap once/twice/thrice for playing/pausing a song, changing tracks, or activating the voice assistant.
It is worth mentioning that Sony recently released the LinkBuds WFL-900, which works on similar technology. Whether Google implements the technology in the rumored Pixel Watch or an advanced version of its Pixel Buds, time will tell. However, as with thousands of other patents, there is a possibility that the skin interface technology never makes it to an actual Google product that consumers can purchase.