Weird Samsung smartwatch could project maps onto your hand

Man stretching on beach wearing sports watch
(Image credit: Getty)

Samsung has filed a patent for a GPS watch that could project extra workout stats onto your hand. This would let you see more data than you could on the watch's face alone, such as detailed graphs and analysis.

It's getting tougher for wearable tech companies to differentiate their sports watches. Coros keeps its devices as light as possible, Amazfit keeps its prices as low as possible, Polar is constantly working to optimize its biometrics, and Garmin is improving GPS accuracy while giving you heaps of models to choose from. Where does that leave Samsung – and specifically the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active?

The new listing, spotted by Chris Smith of Wearable, suggests that it might be planning to take a radically new approach by using a miniature projector to effectively extend the watch's display out onto your skin.

Mirror mirror on your wrist...

Alternatively, it could mirror the content of the watch face, which could be useful for long-sighted athletes. Several runners at my club run without their glasses, and struggle to see their watch faces at close range.

I can also see this tech being useful for maps. Large, crisp displays like those of the Apple Watch Ultra and Garmin Marq Adventurer (Gen 2) can show an impressive amount of detail, but the constraints of a watch mean navigation can get tricky, particularly if you're running a densely built-up area with lots of turns to negotiate.

Of course. how well that works in practice would depend on the resolution of the projection. Samsung's patent shows a series of LEDs and lenses, which would shine onto your skin, compensating for the angle of your hand so you don't have to stand like a mannequin.

Or course, a patent registration doesn't mean that the technology will ever come to a consumer product, but it's an interesting idea that would have a lot of practical uses in a sports watch, so it'll be interesting to see whether Samsung chooses to pursue it.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.