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Tuesday, 28 November 2017 00:00

A Smartwatch that Doesn’t Look So Smart

There may yet be hope for technophiles who don't want to come off looking like an uber-geek as they use a smartphone, smart watch, and fitness tracker all at once. With a smart coffee cup and a few digital personal assistants squawking every few minutes. Plus a few smart appliances whirring in the background.

Given the seeming ubiquitousness of all that gadgetry, though, one wonders why the worry would come in wearing a smart watch. Perhaps the concern over donning one has to do with style choices that are inherently more personal. And while many seem perfectly content to live in an ultra-wired world, it's possible they don't want the "wires" to extend to their persons -- yet, anyway.

For those who'd prefer to take advantage of the technology a smart watch can offer -- without the mini-computer look atop one's wrist -- venerable watchmaker Timex has what looks to be a safe compromise: The Fairfield Contactless, an analog watch that includes a Barclaycard bPay chip as part of the device's wrist strap.

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Samsung wants to take advantage of the human real estate located next to its smartwatch, configuring the gadget in such a way as to be able to use the back of the wearer's hand as a second screen.

In its patent filing, Samsung describes the device as a wearable that is intended to be worn on the body of a user. Included in the device, according to the filing: "an image projector configured to project a virtual user interface (UI) screen, a camera configured to capture an image, and a processor configured to detect a target area from the image captured by the camera...."

According to Gizmag, the fact that Samsung has applied for such a patent isn't necessarily a sign that an actual product will make its way to the market anytime soon. The concept product would have the capability of scanning the back of the wearer's hand in order to get a sense of the size and scope of the display area. Then, the device would project some interactive panels -- such as a number pad and, say, a toggle button to switch display languages. In other words, the projected display would add functionality to the smartwatch screen.

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Wearable technology has made big headlines this year, with Google Glass and smartwatches promising to change the way consumers live and work. As the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement age, the healthcare industry is thriving, with patients increasingly relying on medical providers to help them live healthy, productive lives.

With the need for quality healthcare growing, those in the medical community are in search of tools that can help them better care for patients. Major tech companies such as Google and Apple have been diligently looking for ways to incorporate healthcare solutions into technology products consumers can wear everyday. If a smartwatch or a pair of glasses could transmit biometric data to medical providers, patients could receive quicker care. Not only could this save lives, it could also cut down on medical visits, saving insurers and consumers money.

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