Why Moment Doesn’t Need an LCD Screen

Moment Prototype Photo
Moment allows you to develop an intuitive sense of time, direction, and much more

In the past few years, the growth of wearable technology has exploded. In the process, two types of devices have emerged: smartwatches and health trackers. Smartwatches offer users smartphone notifications pushed to their wrists, where they can interact with the information in a familiar way—through capacitative touch screens while fitness trackers take in a variety of data using sensors, from heart rate to accelerometer measurements, to give users a better understanding of their physical activity.

In designing Moment, we went in the opposite direction and questioned the assumptions made by other wearable devices. Wearable technology should communicate with users by taking advantage of what the body does best.

What does the body do best?

The human body feels its surroundings. An average adult has 1.5–2.0 square meters of skin covered with receptors that sense temperature, texture, and pressure.
However, the vast majority of current human-computer interaction fails to take advantage of this input form. Moment targets the Lamellar corpuscles (also known as Pacinian corpuscles) at a vibration frequency of 235 Hz and a spatial resolution of 3cm. Combined with the phenomenon of tactile illusions, Moment turns your wrist into a detailed haptic display, which can communicate information in a way that is naturally intuitive.

Diagram of the human skin.
A cross section diagram of human skin.

What is the future of human-computer interaction?

While the screens on our laptops, smartphones and, now, smartwatches allow a great way to interact with information visually, we think the future of human-computer interaction will go far beyond this. At Somatic Labs, we are working on technology to turn the human body into a programmable display.


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Author: Jake Rockland

Jake is currently a junior pursuing a B.S.E. in Computer Engineering at the University of Arizona. A hacker at heart, Jake has experience with firmware development, full stack web development, and iOS development.

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