Lately, the smartwatch is all the rage. Not so much with consumers, but at Android Authority, where we’ve been beset on all sides by news of wearable technology. The latest comes from Motorola, who filed a “wearable display device” with the USPTO (US Patent and Trade office) back in February. While the big story is Motorola’s “gaze detection” technology, and creepy patent pictures showcasing it, the filing has a lot more to it.
This gaze detection has some unique aspects, and along with a few other notes in the filing, could mean a new Motorola smartwatch would have a unique display, or series of them. The gaze detection, according to the filing, will “determine a gaze cone corresponding to the detected gaze direction and alter the presentation of the data by presenting the data on a portion of the display disposed within the gaze cone.”
In plain english, that means it could show you data on the portion of the device you’re looking at, and know just how you’re looking at it. While that sounds pretty silly, considering a smartwatch display is currently about 1.5-inches square, another note in the filing could tell us a bit more. Note 13 gives us the following:
A primary display disposed along a major face of the wearable housing and configured to alter a physical geometry as the wearable housing bends or flexes; and a secondary display coupled to the wearable housing by a hinged connection so as to be rotatable relative to the wearable housing.
The filing went on to note how Motorola would further realize how two displays would interact with one another, and then the user. They would act in unison at certain times (while the watch was off your wrist), or take turns acting as the primary display. The filing also described how the device could detect its orientation to us, and turn the display readout accordingly. Think of being on a bike, and looking down to your watch; it would display the information on a tilt, which could easily be read by the wearer. It would detect your gaze, know its relation to you, and you’d never have to take your hands off the handlebars.
The filing, which should not be meant one for a finalized product, was pretty encompassing. Motorola has a few different working concepts for the device, including flexible displays and one that appears to be a lot like a Nike Fuelband. The filing went on to mention a host of other cool features, like a microphone for voice activated commands, but no remarks on the device being a standalone product. It would have Bluetooth and WiFi, along with a litany of other sensors normally found on a full-featured smartphone, but no cellular radios or SIM card slot.
With sensors for heart rate, pulse, and body temperature, this also seems to be a device centered around fitness. Like the current MotoACTV watch from Motorola, this new device seems to be refresh of it, with just a bit more usability for real world scenarios. Like the Moto X, this wearable device builds on Motorola’s work on contextual awareness, and true “on demand” notifications.
We’ll be interested to see where this patent application leads a resurgent Motorola.