Created in 2012, Project Small is a vision of the future of wearables. It is the direct antecedent to the Samsung Galaxy Gear and the Samsung Gear S2.
The past is prologue...
Let us take you back to 2012. TTT had just formed, mere months after the launch of the wildly successful Galaxy S3. With only 4 members, we set out to envision wearable devices — not as they were, but as we wanted them to be. Working through hardware, software, user experience, industrial design, and many other disciplines, our answer was Project Small: a wearable device that took the essence of a phone, and put it on your wrist.
We knew from the beginning that interacting with information on a screen you could hide with three fingers would be hard. To overcome that challenge, we looked both to the future and the past. From the future, we brought forth gesture-based interaction, not only with information, but with the real world itself. To support it, we created the first band-mounted camera system designed to allow you to both perfectly see the screen, and to see things behind your arm. Augmented reality could finally be at your fingertips.
We also understood that much of the information we consume is digital — it has no intrinsic form. To make it touchable, we plumbed the past of interaction to create the rotary bezel. Its deliciously haptic feedback makes dealing with tiny controls on the circular screen a true pleasure rather than an exercise in frustration.
The camera of the future
We could already see that the camera of the future would not be a like the film cameras of the past, but rather like the human eye itself — capable of not only seeing and remembering, but also of understanding. We built a prototype system that proved to anyone who saw it that it was possible to use the band-mounted camera to not only take amazing pictures, but to recognize text, objects, and symbols, but also to carry out real-time translation.
Of course, a tiny device has its limits, and Project Small was not meant to work alone. It not only borrowed an internet connection from the accompanying smartphone, but it also took the information from the phone, reformatted it intelligently, and put it at the user's reach in a legible and glanceable format.
The story of Project Small is a story of holistic approach and attention to detail. From the curve of the screen to the design of the back plate, from the exact placement of the camera to the design of the clasp, from the programming of its tiny processor to the exact force profile of the rotary bezel, we strove to bring delight to every aspect of the prototype. And to really test it out, we not only simulated and designed, but we also built every piece of technology into a prototype device that could achieve every function you see in the video above.