Forget touch and voice controls: Google's upcoming wireless headphones and smartwatches could be controlled by drawing on your skin.
That's according to a recently granted patent spotted by LetsGoDigital, which suggests that Google is developing a skin interface for a variety of different wearable devices, including some that resemble its Pixel Buds and Pixel Watch.
Just like you can swipe up and down on some true wireless earbuds to control the volume, or tap them to play/pause your music, this new patent shows how skin-like gestures would be applied near your ears.
Similarly, instead of swiping across the screen of their smartwatch, users would control what they see by swiping across the arm, wrist, and back of the hand.
According to the patent, the devices will achieve this by using multiple sensors capable of detecting nearby motion and translating it into recognizable commands.
Plus, Google has implemented machine learning technology that can distinguish these intentional movements from normal ones, so you shouldn't have to worry about turning off your wireless headphones when you want to eat lunch or scratch that annoying itch.
Review: New and improved touch controls
If this technology can work effectively, skin gestures could offer significant advantages over the traditional touch controls already used by many wireless headsets.
For starters, skin gestures would give users more room to draw. Not only would this make it easier to introduce pre-existing gestures, but the space could allow Google to create new, more elaborate controls to improve the functionality of its wireless devices.
Plus, by eliminating the need to touch the earbuds, you're less likely to move or push them uncomfortably into your ear canals. Achieving a solid seal can improve the audio performance of in-ear headphones. Therefore, using these controls can make the listening experience more enjoyable and cohesive.
It will also help keep your appliances clean. If you hate having to smudge your smartwatch screen to use it, these skin gestures will eliminate that hassle.
That said, we'll have to wait and see what Google does next. As with all patents, there's no guarantee we'll actually see a Google device using skin gestures until the brand officially files one.
However, with the Sony Link Buds already showing skin controls in action, it's probably only a matter of time before Google and others follow suit.