|15 August 2016|


Computer scientists at St Andrews University have developed a new system for smartwatches and fitness-trackers which could transform the technology for users without the need to buy new hardware.

WatchMI allows wearers to access functions on their watch using a wider range of actions: for example by twisting the watch face, applying pressure to the screen, or by panning the watch to the right or left.

The new interface created by the scientists at St Andrews uses inbuilt sensors already in most smartwatches to boost functionality, including scrolling between menus by panning left or right; or even play games by twisting the face to move a character and tapping with another finger to fire a weapon.

Hui-Shyong Yeo, postgraduate researcher in the School of Computer Science at the University, who led the project, said: “I believe this could transform the way smartwatches are viewed and used because our technique could be applied to most of the smartwatches and fitness trackers in the market without adding to the cost.”

Professor Aaron Quigley, Chair of Human Computer Interaction at the School of Computer Science at the University, said: “Direct input with our smartphones or smartwatches allows many forms of interaction, however with small diminutive devices our fingers and hands get in the way, blocking our view of what is happening. WatchMI overcomes this problem and allows us to wear and interact with all the pixels on our body-worn devices, not just the ones our fingers aren’t blocking.”