Great Or Garish? Concept Smartwatch Uses Mechanical Control Interface

Let’s be frank: Although wearables are most definitely a hot, up-and-coming market, not everyone is convinced that very many (or any) wearable computing devices are worthwhile. Smartwatches often seem like a very intriguing concept, but no one has yet figured out how to make one that people have to have. Fitness bands are handy tools but are often limited. Google Glass and its ilk have run into a bizarre zeitgeist buzzsaw. And so on.


Thus, the market is wide open for innovation, and a team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have what they believe is a design solution for smartwatch interfaces: They’ve made the interface mechanical to complement touchscreen capabilities.

smartwatch mechanical

They have a point. Smartwatch interfaces are quite small by definition, and our big fat index fingers occlude much of the displays when we’re using them. This idea allows users to perform a great deal of actions without blocking the display, including pan, twist, tilt, and click.

Hit the video below to see the proof of concept device in action:

Bearing in mind that this is simply a proof of concept mockup, it does seem somewhat clunky. It looks like using a smartwatch in this way puts a lot of pressure on the arm and wrist you wear it on, not to mention stress on the watch band.

That said, we’re sure the actual mechanisms could be greatly improved upon. That, and it’s really something to see someone playing a first person shooter on a smartwatch.

Sound off in the comments: Do you see this as a terrific innovation that could help smartwatches become more attractive to consumers, or is this a weak idea?