Patent published on September 5, 2023

IBM's Patent Unveils Sliding Screen Feature for Future Smart Watches

With patent number US11747858B2, International Business Machines (IBM) is addressing a prominent problem prevalent in today's tech-reliant world: the limitation of screen space on wearable gadgets, particularly smartwatches. As our societal reliance on technology expands, these miniscule screens start proving a roadblock to functionality, inhibiting the user experience and hence their proliferation.

Driven by a need for smartphones' capabilities in a wristwatch, IBM's patent sets out to resolve this issue. Their invention is simple and ingenious—an extendable screen for wearable gadgets. Built with a mechanism akin to a small wheel and track system, this patent features a watch with two screens. These screens, resting one on top of the other, can be slid out or retracted back, encircling each other in a semblance of rings.

The inventive device's specifications, as explained in the patent, could redefine our interaction with smart devices. As per the figures provided, the watch displays a retracted screen in a sitting position (FIG. 1A and 1B) that can be pulled out for an extended view (FIG. 1C and FIG. 2A/B). It is also possible to display multiple areas (FIG. 3B) or a single display area (FIG. 3A).

This device, once on the market, will potentially usher in a new age of wearable technology, making screen space no longer a limiting factor. Imagine catching the full view of your favorite show right on your wristwatch, or have multiple tabs open, allowing seamless multi-tasking. With an extended screen, reading messages or following GPS navigation on your wristwatch would be as easy as reading it on your phone.

If this invention does make it into an IBM smartwatch, the daily functionality of wearable tech in our lives will notably change. However, it's essential to note that despite the patent, there’s no certainty that this technology will appear in the market. A patent is an official document that gives an inventor the right to stop others from making, selling, or using an invention, not a guarantee of its eventual embodiment in an available product.

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