Lead­ing ana­lyt­i­cal agen­cies have repeat­ed­ly report­ed a grad­ual decrease in demand for such a cat­e­go­ry of devices as smart watch­es. Due to a num­ber of lim­i­ta­tions in func­tion­al­i­ty, this prod­uct sim­ply seems bor­ing to the aver­age user. And the devel­op­ers of the Uni­ver­si­ty of the Amer­i­can Carnegie Uni­ver­si­ty (Penn­syl­va­nia) have found a way by which you can sig­nif­i­cant­ly increase the “intel­lec­tu­al abil­i­ties” of smart watch­es.

By default, wear­able acces­sories have an accelerom­e­ter that oper­ates at a fre­quen­cy of 100 Hz. It is enough to deter­mine sev­er­al ele­men­tary activ­i­ties of its own­er: run­ning, swim­ming, walk­ing, cycling. By increas­ing the fre­quen­cy of the sen­sor to 4 kHz, the sci­en­tists found a sig­nif­i­cant increase in the sen­si­tiv­i­ty of the accelerom­e­ter.


A mod­i­fied ver­sion of the clock with increased sen­sor sen­si­tiv­i­ty made it pos­si­ble to deter­mine an order of mag­ni­tude more bioa­coustic com­mands. Snap­ping fin­gers, clap­ping, touch­ing a cer­tain part of the hand, rub­bing the palms, the posi­tion of the hands — all this is eas­i­ly detect­ed by an accelerom­e­ter oper­at­ing at a fre­quen­cy of 4 kHz.

More­over, by pro­gram­ming the smart watch, the sci­en­tists were able to teach them to even deter­mine what object is in the hands of the own­er. The watch eas­i­ly deter­mines which tool you are using: a saw for met­al, a hack­saw, a drill, a screw­driv­er, a mix­er or a glue gun — due to the char­ac­ter­is­tic vibra­tions emit­ted by the object, you can trans­form the func­tion­al­i­ty of the device.

The poten­tial for using a more sen­si­tive accelerom­e­ter is very high. You can con­trol the heat­ing tem­per­a­ture of a spe­cif­ic instru­ment, con­trol your TV and appli­ances, and cus­tomize hun­dreds of sce­nar­ios for each unique ges­ture.

Hope­ful­ly, wear­able acces­sories devel­op­ers will take on board Carnegie Uni­ver­si­ty research, and smart­watch­es will learn to do much more than just show noti­fi­ca­tions and track the num­ber of steps tak­en. [GM]