Mobile phones have been encroaching for some years onto traditional wristwatch turf as devices for telling the time and offering a lot more besides. The wristwatch was only invented in 1868, but now it looks set to be completely transformed with advances in flexible screen technology by companies such as Plastic Logic.
Smart phone interaction
The wristwatch of the future will not so much replace smart phones as connect up with them. They’ll continue to tell the time without the user having to fish around for a phone, but they’ll also be able to incorporate far more functionality than even the most advanced traditional watch.
Plastic Logic’s concept design for the smart watch of the future points the way to what we might expect from the designers and manufacturers pretty soon. It utilizes a flexible but robust plastic e-paper display to create a sleek and functional ornament that wraps around the wrist. The otherwise monochrome display created by the e-paper limitations is enlivened and enriched by the incorporation of color filters for brilliant effects.
The color filters used in the smart watch concept are single color filters, behind which the E Ink is driven all black or all white. When the pixels behind the filter are all white, the area appears to “light up”. While the use of filters means that the colors are a little more subdued than you would experience with a standard LCD, research is continuing to make the vibrancy of flexible display color screens parable to that experienced in existing rigid screen technology.
Although the prototype does not have a touch panel at this point it will be a simple matter to incorporate one for the sake of sacrificing a few microns of thickness, which only a microscope would complain about!
Doesn't just tell the time
Some of the potential information that could be displayed on such futuristic devices is built into the prototype. This includes the standard time-face, but also a heart-rate monitor and information about incoming calls from a smart phone that is connected up to the device.
Apart from being attractive, flexible and useful, Plastic Logic’s smart watch is also pretty much unbreakable. It is robust enough to tolerate the pressures of daily use, and uses minimal power too. Once a static image has been created on screen no extra power is required to maintain it.
Other wrist devices
Sony have already released an innovative smart watch that has a two-inch square screen used to display Twitter posts, emails and various snippets of text that have been downloaded from an Android phone.
Nike has also created the Fuel Band, a black band featuring colored lights that measures how much energy you use up on a daily basis and sends the data to a smart phone.
The new Pebble wristwatch can display text, play music and display weather and other information downloaded from a smart phone.
The assured future of the wristwatch in its new manifestations is down to its appeal as an extension to the smart phone. The user’s wrist effectively becomes their smart phone’s remote screen, with different applications being used to control the phone from there.
Apart from the familiar old traditional wristwatch and a few other pieces of kit, the human wrist is a much-neglected part of the anatomy and it’s about time it was utilized more fully. With flexible plastic technology, we can now do exactly that.
The new devices will strive to strike a balance between fashion and technology to bring in a broader audience. Young people, who tend to regard the watch as an interesting but irrelevant fossil from the pre-Facebook age, should be especially taken with the new raft of devices about to be launched on us.
Is this a post from Technology Innovation ?
No. This is a guest post by Verena Uebner From Tug.
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