A smartwatch that knows what you're touching

A new system developed byDisney Research known as the Em-Sense watch will be able to distinguish between different types of electromagnetic sound resonating through different objects when you touch them. When a user wears the EM-Sense sensor smartwatch, it detects any object the user touches, from door handles to laptop trackpads and drills. The system does not need objects to be hooked up to any kind of sensor ... the EmSense system can detect them based on a database of past interactions.

Disney explains: "Most everyday electrical and electromechanical objects emit small amounts of electromagnetic (EM) noise during regular operation. When a user makes physical contact with such an object, this EM signal propagates through the user, owing to the conductivity of the human body. By modifying a small, low-cost, software-defined radio, we can detect and classify these signals in real-time, enabling robust on-touch object detection." Read More>

EmSense isn't ready for consumer release yet, this is still just a research project, though it does appear to work in practice. Imagine what it would be like if we can digitize touch and tactile sensation? Could this enable a multitude of new human capabilities? What if we could have office doors or specialized equipment that only operate on the touch of an authorized users only (as verified by his/her touch and paired smartwatch)?