Samsung is still mulling a version of its Galaxy Watch with a built-in mini projector capable of casting information onto the hand. That’s according to a just-published patent filing from the electronics giant.
You may recall a similar and unrealized filing from Samsung way back in 2016, which focused on creating an externally projected keyboard.
However, in the February 2023 filing spied by Wareable, Samsung is proposing a different use case.
The filing speaks of a smartwatch with “a projection display on a side portion of the housing and configured to display information on a display area adjacent to the housing” which could mirror the main screen or be used to display further information.
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It would showcase content in a “display area larger than the display area of a display module on a part of the body wearing a wearable,” the patent reads.
Within the filing, Samsung is opening the door to more immersive content less suited to the confines of the smartwatch screen. It says the “projection display may display information that is different from the information displayed on the display module.”
It means we could finally have a way to effectively view videos sent via messaging apps, for example. Perhaps with an added camera module, video calling would be possible too.
Samsung writes: “According to an embodiment, the wearable electronic device may display various images. The image may include a still image and a moving image… such as broadcast content, multimedia content, and the like.”
In the accompanying diagrams, Samsung shows the projection duties will be handled by an arc of lenses and LEDs, aligned in two rows (see below). That would enable the imagery to be imparted at different angles across the surface. In theory, it would ensure a consistent, undistorted image on the hand.
The LEDs imparting the information could be brighter, depending on the nearest focal distance, Samsung says, or could intelligently tilt clockwise or anti-clockwise depending on the detected angle of the intended surface. It’s like the keystone correction tech we see to present a straight image on a traditional projector, but with multiple lenses and LEDs.
In plainer English, you wouldn’t need to have your wrist perfectly straight for the projected image to be properly displayed. Whether the unit would be small enough to ensure the design aesthetic and practicalities of wearing it remains to be seen.
However, it’s all quite clever stuff. Given Samsung is still working on ways to incorporate this technology, we can assume the company still eyeing the possibility of adding a projection unit to a forthcoming wearable.
However, many of these patent filings remain just that. Exploratory work is part of the vast arsenal of R&D that goes into perfecting our favorite devices.
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