Smart Watch Prototype that Lets You Play Doom!

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I just read this article on the industrial design blog Core77 about a new smart watch interface design. It was created by the human-computer interaction labs at Carnegie Mellon University. Basically the screen is free floating and you can pan, tilt, twist and click it for various UI actions. They have some demo apps and even ported Doom to it.

My take is that it's cool but I'm skeptical about how much better it would be then a touch screen. It would increase the size of the device requiring new sensors and movement mechanism and raising the screen enough for click and tilt. Also, this assumes a smart watch will attempt to replicate smart phone functions. I think that's a flawed assumption. Any hardware controls will be designed around the intended functions. I just don't see smart watches running mini smart phone apps. I think they will be second screen or widget type apps. The article mentions the iPod click wheel as a point of comparison. With the iPod, scrolling through lists was the main UI interaction so a wheel made sense. Besides, the iPod Nano was quite easy to navigate and I don't see a smart watch being any more complicated then that.

Anyway, regardless of the use case, this prototype is cool and well executed and I want to share it with a broader audience.