A future Apple Watch could respond to motions and gestures

Apple has been granted a patent that suggests that upcoming versions of watchOS and the Apple Watch could react to motions and gestures. Patent number 9,939,899 is for “motion and gesture input from a wearable device."

Apple is investigating such technology because “there may be situations where the user's ability to speak a verbal command or perform a touch gesture may be limited.” According to the patent, the smartwatch can have multiple photodiodes, each sensing light at a different position on a surface of the device that faces skin of a user. 

Apple Watch gestures.jpeg

Examples of the disclosure include the detection of hand gestures by recognizing patterns in sensor data that are characteristic of each hand gesture, as the tissue expands and contracts and anatomical features in the tissue move during the gesture. I’m not sure how practical this would be in daily use with an Apple Watch, but it’s an intriguing idea.

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.