Apple Watch Gesture offerings could expand in future

Apple Watch new gestures using fingers and bands

Apple Watch was the first wearable to introduce innovative gesture-based user interfaces last year.

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With AssistiveTouch, now, you can use hand gestures such as clench, double clench, or pinch type operations to navigate and use your Apple Watch.

This means that your Apple Watch can recognize the different gestures made by your finger movements today.

These new gesture-based features are available on Apple Watch Series 4 and later.

Apple Watch New Gestures Coming Soon?

Apple may be working on expanding the gestures available on the Apple Watch.

As per a patent approved and published today, Patent #US011301048, ‘Wearable device for detecting light reflected from a user,’ the Cupertino giant is looking at expanding the gestures available on the Apple Watch.

Some of the new gestures could help users perform quick actions such as mute speakers, accept or decline incoming calls on the Apple Watch, and more.

While voice and touch input is an effective way to control a device, there may be situations where the user’s ability to speak the verbal command or perform the touch gesture may be limited.

Here is a list of gestures and corresponding action items that have been called out in this patent.Apple Watch New Gestures

Fundamentally, recognizing these gestures requires myoelectric and EMG sensors on wearable devices.

EMG (Electromyography) sensors recognize information about a user’s hand posture, and the non-dominant hand is used for smartwatch inputs. In this way, a different function is executed depending on postures. 

As a result, a smartwatch with limited input methods and a smaller display is given a variety of interactive functions with users.

The patent also calls out the ability of future Apple Watch devices to use multi-wavelength optical sensing.

Additionally, the per also walks you through various other techniques for sensing gestures in detail using wearable wrist bands and more.

The light sensors and light sources can be positioned to precisely measure the movements of the tendons or the muscles and allow for more gestures on the watch.

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Sudz Niel Kar
I am a technologist with years of experience with Apple and wearOS products, have a BS in Computer Science and an MBA specializing in emerging tech, and owned the popular site AppleToolBox. In my day job, I advise Fortune 500 companies with their digital transformation strategies and also consult with numerous digital health startups in an advisory capacity. I'm VERY interested in exploring the digital health and fitness-tech evolution and keeping a close eye on patents, FDA approvals, strategic partnerships, and developments happening in the wearables and digital health sector. When I'm not writing or presenting, I run with my Apple Watch Ultra or Samsung Galaxy Watch and closely monitor my HRV and other recovery metrics.


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