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May Google Pixel Watch and next-gen Pixel Buds come with touch controls


Your skin might be used to operate a future Pixel Watch.

Google Pixel Watch and Pixel 6a appear in US carrier

However, Google seems to have some exciting ideas for its next wearable, even if they don’t launch with this initial edition of the Google Pixel Watch.

In a patent submitted by Google to the WIPO, LetsGoDigital discovered a “Skin interface for Wearables” where both a wristwatch and earphones are depicted being operated by a user touching their skin. According to a patent application, when a wearable is placed near the skin, a mechanical wave is created, which is translated into an action on the device via built-in sensors.


The included photos demonstrate how a pair of headphones or a wristwatch may be controlled by touching or swiping the skin on the wrist, the back of the hand, or the forearm.

Game-changer or publicity stunt?

However, even if this patent application may never become a reality, I’m more excited about the possibility of Pixel Buds and less excited about the potential for a Pixel Watch. For smaller watch faces, having a larger canvas to work with may be useful. I’ve never had any difficulties utilising touch controls on a smartwatch.

But earbuds with skin controls? Is that what you’re referring to? The touch controls on some of the finest wireless earbuds are one of my biggest gripes. By the time I get to three or four kilometres into a run, I’m having trouble keeping my earphones in. The more I fiddle with them, the more likely it is that I’ll accidently pause or skip through the audio. If the current track is dragging, it’s not ideal to turn off touch controls, but it seems like I might have the best of all worlds if I did.

(Image credit: Let’s Go Digital / Google)

An alternative to touch controls, though, brings to mind another Google project: Project Soli. When Google’s Pixel 4 was unveiled, it was expected to be a game-changer when it came to gesture controls using radar. It was removed from the Pixel 5 and will not be included in the Google Pixel 6. The sleep monitoring feature in the Nest Hub 2 is the only way to see it in action for now.

Just because something sounds great on paper doesn’t mean it will be widely adopted. If earbuds include touch controls, is this the best way to enhance them? In the end, it’s up to history to decide. source


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