WrisText: Smartwatch Text Entry via Wrist Movements

Smartwatches have been proliferating into modern life, letting us check texts and get other information (like the current time) at a…

Jeremy S. Cook
2 years agoWearables

Smartwatches have been proliferating into modern life, letting us check texts and get other information (like the current time) at a glance. While convenient, if you want to respond to what your wrist is telling you, this means actually pulling out your phone and typing or swiping with your thumbs.

While not normally a huge problem, it can be inconvenient if one of your hands is otherwise occupied. To help solve this dilemma, researchers at Dartmouth College have come up with a novel texting method called “WrisText,” which uses wrist motions for text entry. The user moves his or her hand to one of six letter groups arranged around the circumference of the watch face, and the watch predicts what word is needed based on the entered combination and frequency of use. Navigation and word selection can be accomplished using finger to thumb pinch and rub gestures.

The prototype is a Ticwatch 2, augmented with proximity sensors to detect wrist movement, along with piezo vibration sensors to detect selections via finger taps or rubbing. An Arduino Due processes these movements and sends them to a computer. The system can be used in both a wrist up and wrist down configuration— which assumes the use of an external display for visibility — and after a few days of training, entry speeds of up to 24.9 WPM were attained. The research paper on the device can be found here, and a demonstration of it in action can be seen in the video below!

Jeremy S. Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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