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Future Tech: 

Disney smartwatch tracks everything you touch


Yes Disney smartwatch, that’s the office door. We could have told you that.

Smartwatches are already good for tracking things. You might use one to count your steps, your heart-rate or even your sleep patterns, but this takes things a step further– it’s a smartwatch that tracks everything you touch.

The technology has been called EM-sense, created by Disney Research in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University. At the moment it’s just a proof-of-concept device, but should they get around to developing it then it could have some very interesting applications.

The smartwatch uses electromagnetic (EM) noise to detect objects that we touch, reading the signals transmitted when our hands and fingers come in to contact with different items. The specific items would need to be classified beforehand, but the researchers say that dozens of objects could be tracked via the smartwatch.

So, for instance, any time that you touch your smartphone, laptop, toothbrush or front door could be recorded via a single app. See below for a more in-depth explanation.

A clever piece of tech, no doubt – but why is it actually useful?

According to the research paper, a smartwatch that adopts the tech could have a whole host of ‘context-based’ features. That means that your device could associate certain objects with certain activities, setting apps or reminders into action using only the power of touch. Hitting snooze on your alarm clock might activate your smart kettle, while touching your laptop while wearing the watch could replace your password.

Of course, the flipside of wearing a watch that tracks everything you do is, well, that it tracks everything that you do. That’s bound to raise more than a few privacy concerns, but the positives of the technology could still outweigh the negatives.

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