[tl;dr] The Microsoft Research projects that could make a Microsoft Watch awesome

  • The Wall Street Journal reported today that Microsoft is working on a touch-enabled watch device.
  • This follows rumors Apple and other companies are getting into the wearable computing trend.
  • Microsoft’s previous SPOT FM-subscription smart watch attempt was technically innovative but faced adoption and market challenges. Cancelled in 2008.
  • I really hope some technology transfer from Microsoft Research’s Computational User Experiences group will show up in this rumored product.
  • Skinput (video below) – using an armband it measured vibrations through the skin to “sense” touch interactions on the arm. I wonder if the same effect can be achieved with the wrist strap of a watch.
  • Muscle-Computer Interfaces (muCIs) – sensing muscular activity in the arm and fingers using a strap-like device. Similar to the previous, if it could sense through the watch strap, then could enable much more fine grain control by just moving fingers.
  • PocketTouch – capacitive touch input through fabrics. Although I don’t imagine a watch being covered by a long sleeve shirt for the most part, it would be handy to be able to interact with it through the fabric.

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