Future Google Pixel Watch and Pixel Buds may have skin gesture controls

New patent could make wearables easier to use
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Future versions of the Google Pixel Watch could be controlled by gestures on the skin, according to a new patent.

The Google patent, granted by the World Intellectual Property Organization, enables the smartwatch to detect touches on the skin immediately around the device.

This would free users from the constraints of hitting small areas on the touchscreen, and according to Google, make for a more pleasant user experience.

The patent was spotted by LetsGoDigital, and the text talks about a “skin interface.” And the potential isn’t just for smartwatches, but also for in-ear Pixel Bid headphones and even VR headsets.

Future Google Pixel Watch and Pixel Buds may have skin gesture controls

Usability is a big challenge for smartwatches, so making the experience easier and less fiddly could be a huge win. And even more so for in-ear smart buds, which can be frustrating to use thanks to tiny touch-sensitive controls. Having a larger surface area of skin of press would be brilliant.

Diagrams included in the patent show how it might work. Accelerometers could detect movement on the skin directly to each side of the smartwatch. It would also be tuned to eliminate false positives, from rubbing or scratching the skin.

But this is extremely unlikely to be ready for the forthcoming Pixel Watch.

For this kind of technology to make it from patent to wrists could take years – and that’s assuming it’s deemed to be effective.

The Google Pixel Watch, which is still unconfirmed by Google, is expected to be launched in May 2022. However, the latest indications are that it could be beset by delays.

Watch this space.

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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.

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