Google Patents New Technology to Control XR Headset with Smartwatch Gestures
A recent Google patent has revealed that the tech giant is working on a new way to control mixed-reality (XR) headsets using smartwatch gestures. According to the patent, the XR headset would be able to detect when the user is looking at the smartwatch, at which point the user interface on the smartwatch would switch to XR controls.
The patent, titled “Controlling Head-Mounted Device with Gestures into Wearable Device,” outlines how the XR headset would use the front-facing camera to detect smartwatch gestures and interpret them as commands for the XR device’s interface. For example, a gesture on the smartwatch could open a specific application on the XR headset, such as drawing a “U” to open the Uber app or making a “C” gesture to pull up the user’s Google Calendar.
The technology also involves creating a “gesture library” to interpret various gestures in different ways, making the control system more versatile. While the patent does not specify a specific smartwatch model, it is assumed that a Google headset would coordinate with a future Pixel Watch.
This new development from Google presents an interesting contrast to the current trend in XR headsets, which are designed to work without traditional controllers. Most upcoming XR headsets, like the Apple Vision Pro and Samsung’s XR headset, rely on hand tracking, eschewing the gaming-focused controllers found in other devices.
It is clear that Google is exploring multiple options for controlling its XR glasses and is actively working on innovations in the XR space. From adding Google Assistant to its XR glasses to now developing a new control system using smartwatch gestures, Google is positioning itself as a major player in the future of mixed reality technology.