Google patent: Operate wearables by touching your skin

Google has filed a patent that allows wearables to be controlled by touch on the skin.

With its wearables, Google is looking for new ways of making the devices more intuitive to control. As the Dutch technology magazine Letsgodigital reports, the company has filed a new patent for operating wearables via a “skin interface”. The concept corresponds to gesture control directly on the user’s skin and can be applied to different hardware such as smartwatches, headphones, smart Britten or virtual reality headsets.

WIPO approves Google patent

The patent entitled “Skin interface for wearables: sensor fusion to improve signal quality” was already registered in 2020. At the beginning of March 2022, the 27-page documentation was finally approved and published by the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO).

Google combines sensors for better detection

Wearables are currently controlled by touch directly on the hardware or by voice commands. According to Google, this can affect the performance of the antenna or generate unwanted noise. The US group sees a solution to these problems in gesture control directly on the skin. The technique is realized via sensor fusion technology, which combines multiple sensors in the wearable for accurate detection. For example, they recognize swiping and tapping gestures that the user performs directly on the skin next to their smartwatch or next to their headphones. These gestures create a mechanical wave that is sensed and interpreted by sensors in the wearable.

Numerous gestures are possible

An associated input command can then be passed on to the wearable via the gesture. According to the patent, possible gestures include horizontal and vertical swiping, as well as long or short tapping with one or more fingers. Machine learning allows the wearable to better differentiate between actual input and normal user movement over time. It remains to be seen when the new technology will actually be used in Google wearables.

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