This ​Disney smartwatch can identify anything you touch

Your hands are about to become the latest wearable sensor
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Disney's research department has developed a prototype smartwatch that's capable of detecting any object you touch.

Thanks to the conductivity of our meaty bodies, objects in our hand give off an electromagnetic signal, which Disney says its watch can detect. It requires training to distinguish between objects but from there the watch will know when you touch your phone, kettle, mouse or even door handle.

Essential reading: Amazing wearable tech concepts

It works using a hyper-sensitive antennae which looks for the low frequencies emitted by objects though our bodies.

"The device's sensing range is between 1Hz – 28.8MHz, making it possible to detect lowband EM signals present in many electrical and electromechanical objects," says the whitepaper from Disney.

The technology is pretty mad, especially coming out of Disney's innovation labs, but the uses could be seismic.

The same whitepaper lists a bunch of real world examples of where this technology can be used, from detecting you're making your morning coffee and firing up news apps to realizing you're opening your door and turning on your smart lighting. It turns the world around you into the ultimate geo-locating sensor based on what you touch, and that's pretty neat.

It's just a proof of concept at the moment, and the chances are we'll never see this device hit the market. But if the technology can filter into mainstream devices, it could unlock huge potential for our wearable devices.

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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 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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