The smartwatch market has been increasing substantially over the past few years, thanks to the fitness and smartphone industry. These smartwatches can track your daily activity and sleeping hours, calorie consumption, distance traveled while walking, heart rate, and other related activities. Then, use those data to give us an accurate report on our daily activity and health-related information. But these smartwatches have small screens because of their form factor. They cannot be operated conveniently as the smartphones have many restrictions like one can’t pinch-in or pinch-out to zoom-in or zoom-out an image and several more similar gestures. That is why a bigger screen is required to be much more helpful, but bigger screens are not ergonomically fit for the design point of view, as they would need a big display on the watch, which is not desirable.
A virtual touchpad is one solution that can avoid all the limitations of a small touch screen. It provides a virtual screen to feed touch, data, and other required inputs previously fed through the inadequately sized screen of smartwatches. A recently published patent (US10444908B2) filed by Innoventions Inc discloses a system that provides a virtual touchpad as a user interface in a smartwatch. It has a camera on the sides of the watch where the virtual touchpad is required. This camera captures images of the virtual touchpad and their surroundings, i.e., the skin area over the backhand as well as the surface area over the arm adjacent to the watch along with their surrounding areas. This camera is connected with the smartwatch computer that determines the position of the finger and surrounding area near the watch, like hairs, blood vessels, and other textures of the hand near the watch. Furthermore, the computer correlates the surrounding area and the fingertip movement, which helps distinguish the hovering and touch activity of the fingertip on the virtual touchpad, analyzing said hovering and touching activities to detect an operation on the touchpad.