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SkinTrack makes it possible to move interactions from the screen onto the arm, like in this demo using Angry Birds. The HCII researchers will present their work at CHI 2016 on Tuesday, May 10.The Future Interfaces Group, a research lab based at Carnegie Mellon University, unveiled new technology that could create a seamless navigation experience for wearable devices with small screens like smart watches.

The invention, named SkinTrack, uses a, “signal-emitting ring worn on the finger to communicate with a sensing band attached to the watch, “according to The Verge. 

A high-frequency electrical signal spreads across your arm when the finger with the ring makes contact with skin. Next, the distance between the ring and four pairs of electrodes in the watch identifies the position of your finger.

The team discovered that their system could determine the location of the finger with 99 percent accuracy, explained Carnegie Mellon’s announcement. The margin of error clocked in at 7.6 millimeters, but that stacked up well when compared to similar finger-tracking systems.

The proof-of-concept shown to The Verge demonstrated a slew of intriguing features like being able to use your skin as a canvas.

Apps can be dragged off the watch and place them on different parts of your arm where they can still be accessible with a tap from the finger wearing the ring. Tracing an “N” on your arm with the ring-wearing finger can activate a news app whereas an “S” could silence a phone call.

READ MORE: E-Skin Signals Advancement in Biomed Research

Geiraud Laput, Ph.D, a member of the research team said in a statement,” "A major problem with smartwatches and other digital jewelry is that their screens are so tiny.”

"Not only is the interaction area small, but your finger actually blocks much of the screen when you're using it. Input tends to be pretty basic, confined to a few buttons or some directional swipes,” he added.

Essentially, SkinTrack provides a larger interface, but there’s still some issues to be worked out, like finding sufficient methods for ensuring the ring stays charged and preventing significant signal interference when the body sweats.

You can watch the tool in action below. 

 

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