​Samsung patents smartwatch keyboard that projects onto your hand

The battle to make a useable keyboard for smartwatches continues
Wareable is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Samsung has patented a new type of smartwatch keyboard, which projects the keys onto the wearer's hand.

Inputting text into smartwatches is a problem that's yet to be addressed, and until manufacturers can find a way to overcome the problem, smartwatches are destined to be slaves to our smartphones.

Essential reading: Samsung Gear Fit 2 guide

Samsung's patent, which was only filed on May 5, describes the use of a projector, camera and processor to not only project the image of a keyboard onto the user's hand, but detect which buttons are pressed.

​Samsung patents smartwatch keyboard that projects onto your hand

Not only will it project a static keyboard, but the patent indicates that it will also be able to detect gestures. This means that users will be able to draw letters, essentially writing out letters or commands on the back of the hand.

It will also work for apps, with the patent showing the ability to control maps by using an enlarged control system on the hand, rather than pinching and zooming on a tiny 1-inch screen.

​Samsung patents smartwatch keyboard that projects onto your hand

And Samsung doesn't see this system being limited to smartwatches. The patent shows a similar concept for VR systems, where projected keyboards appear in the virtual world, which you press with your outstretched arm, tracked by the camera. Perhaps it could make an appearance on Samsung's rumoured dedicated VR headset.

Of course, this isn't the first experiment to make smartwatch keyboards viable. The TouchOne keyboard used the old T9 method of predictive text, while NEC's ARmKeypad took an approach more like Samsung's, which used AR glasses to project an arm mounted keyboard for factory workers.

​Samsung patents smartwatch keyboard that projects onto your hand

How we test

James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

Related stories