Twisty turny smartwatch interface could be the wearable future

smartwatch joystick faceWith the latest rumours pointing to Apple’s iWatch to be in production and using SIPs instead of the usual method of packing in the hardware I can safely say that the smartwatch trend may be here for a while. Happily, a group of researchers from Carnegie Mellon may have finally figured out a way to make these wrist-bound bits of tech actually useful.

Navigating around those tiny smartwatch screens has been a bit of a sticking point and, no matter how clever the apps are, trying to move around a small map is never going to be easy.

This genius idea allows the watch-face to be tilted, twisted and clicked much like a joystick.

Remember those pre-trackpad nubs or nipples that used to be commonplace on laptops which were used to guide the cursor? That’s more-or-less the jump-off point Robert Xiao, Gierad Laput, and Chris Harrison had for this navigation concept.

smartwatch controlEverything from panning and zooming large maps, to writing characters, to navigating an MP3 player – it all suddenly becomes far more plausible on a smartwatch with this ingenious solution. Even to the point where this concept can even be used to play Doom with little to no practise — it’s so intuitive.

True, this could lead to bumps and knocks being misread by the device as a call to action but surely a lock screen could simply be implemented, or the watch’s bezel could be made to detect the presence of your fingers just like a touchscreen does?

Check out the video below for a run through this brilliant idea.

[youtube id=”rLQtqTpZBOU”]

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