WatchMI wants to bring new gesture controls to existing smartwatches

Innovative system could improve gaming and typing out texts
WatchMI creates new smartwatch controls
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We recently wrote about how companies are finding clever ways to flip the script with smartwatch design, making it easier to interact with our wrist-worn wearables.

Now researchers at the University of St Andrews have devised an interaction method that adds new smartwatch controls by tapping into existing sensors already packed into the timepiece.

Read this: The best smartwatches 2021

Dubbed WatchMI, the series of touch-based gesture controls uses motion sensors like accelerometers and gyroscopes, which are already present in Android Wear watches for instance.

With the user keeping one finger on the screen, the WatchMi tech is able to produce three unique gestures. The first is twisting, which sounds a bit like an alternative to the rotating bezel on Samsung's Gear S2.

Next up is panning, creating a joystick-style interaction and last up is pressure touch to recognise different pressures applied to the touchscreen. Think Force Touch on the Apple Watch. You can see it in action on an Android Wear watch in the video above.

It's hoped that the system can improve smartwatch interactions in a host of ways including navigating maps, turning up the volume, playing games or making it easier to hammer out text messages.

Hui-Shyong Yeo, postgraduate researcher in the School of Computer Science, is leading the project and believes the tech could similarly be applied to fitness trackers as well.

The team responsible for WatchMi are going to be showcasing the interaction tech at the MobileHCI 2016 conference in September. Here's hoping the folks at Google responsible for Android Wear are keeping a close eye on it.