Google Research

WatchThru: Expanding Smartwatch Displays with Mid-air Visuals and Wrist-worn Augmented Reality

  • Dirk Wenig
  • Johannes Schöning
  • Alex Olwal
  • Mathias Oben
  • Rainer Malaka
Proceedings of CHI 2017 (SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems), ACM, pp. 716-721


We introduce WatchThru, an interactive method for extended wrist-worn display on commercially-available smartwatches. To address the limited visual and interaction space, WatchThru expands the device into 3D through a transparent display. This enables novel interactions that leverage and extend smartwatch glanceability. We describe three novel interaction techniques, Pop-up Visuals, Second Perspective and Peek-through, and discuss how they can complement interaction on current devices. We also describe two types of prototypes that helped us to explore standalone interactions, as well as, proof-of-concept AR interfaces using our platform.

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