AuraSense: Enabling Around-Smartwatch Interactions with Electric Field Sensing

Smartwatches and wearable devices promise to offer enhanced convenience to everyday communication and information retrieval tasks. However, because of their small size, the interfaces they run are often limited and cumbersome. Existing approaches generally rely on the touch-screen for display and input, but this is problematic because it inevitably leads to finger occlusion and confined interactivity. To mitigate this issue, researchers have explored techniques to leverage the area around devices to provide an expanded volume for input, often described as “around-device interaction” (ADI).

In this work, we describe AuraSense, an off-the-shelf smartwatch augmented with electric field (EF) sensing. We found EF sensing to be particularly well suited for around device interaction because of several key properties: it is fast (~200 frames per second), low-cost (~$5), requires no additional instrumentation of the arm or finger, and finally, does not suffer from line-of-sight issues (e.g., works through clothing). AuraSense is the first work to implement and evaluate EF sensing in a watch form factor.



Zhou, J., Yang, C., Laput, G., Sample, A. and Harrison, C. 2016. AuraSense: Enabling Expressive Around-Smartwatch Interactions with Electric Field Sensing. To appear in Proceedings of the 29th Annual ACM Symposium on User interface Software and Technology (Tokyo, Japan, October 16 - 19, 2016). UIST '16. ACM, New York, NY.

© Chris Harrison