South Korean technology giant Samsung has filed a patent application for a new smartwatch feature that could make these devices even more interesting. The technology would allow the user to project an UI onto the hand, arm or wrist. The UI could also be projected on walls or other surfaces.

There are many ways in which this technology could be applied, users could enter phone numbers by simply tapping on numbers projected on their arms or wrist. Replying to messages would be made easier, as a keyboard could be projected on any surface, overcoming the limitations that smartwatches have when it comes to inputting text.

The patent mentions that the new smartwatch would include an image projector configured to project a virtual user interface and a camera for capturing pictures. The processor would be configured to detect a target area from the image captured by the camera, control the image projector and perform an input function through the virtual UI screen.

The new technology could be used with a VR or AR headset

The camera could include an omnidirectional lens for capturing images, as the user would only need to point the smartwatch in the direction of the subject. The patent document also mentions that the new technology could be used with head-mounted displays, like an AR or VR headset. The VR device would project images onto surrounding surfaces, like walls.

The document also includes multiple sketches that illustrate the functionality of the smartwatch concept. The device could project a dial pad, notifications, menu options and even a virtual keyboard. It would also offer tools for users to interact with device applications easier.

The patent details the ways in which this technology allows users to project an UI from the smartwatch to multiple surfaces. At this point, it’s unclear if Samsung will actually decide to develop this technology. The patent application is dated May 5.

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