The 2002 roots of the Apple Watch's Digital Touch

In 2002, BB pal Eric Paulos, now a professor at UC Berkeley, built and demonstrated the Connexus project, including a bracelet enabling people to communicate with simple and meaningful messages sent by tapping or rubbing the device and felt by the recipient as subtle vibrations; you could even transmit your pulse. Sound like the Apple Watch's Digital Touch feature? TODAY online points out the similarities:


Take multi-touch — where you use more than one finger to interact with a screen: Apple popularised it with the iPhone in 2007, but Japanese academic Jun Rekimoto used something similar years before. And the Apple Watch? Its Digital Touch feature allows you to send doodles, touches or your heartbeat to other users. More than a decade ago, researcher Eric Paulos developed something very similar, called Connexus, which allowed users to send messages via a wrist device using strokes, taps and touch.

"I guess when we say none of this is new, it's not so much trashing the product, but more pointing out that the product has its origins in the research of scientists whom most people will never hear of, and it's a way of acknowledging their contributions," said Mr Paul Strohmeier, a researcher at Ontario's Human Media Lab.

"The path to a wearable future lies in academia"

Eric's 2002 input/output design diagram for Connexus: