Disney Research has developed a smartwatch with technology that can detect what the wearer is touching.
The device uses electromagnetic signals to identify any item the wearer touches, not just with their hands but also feet, and presumably any area of skin.
Though there are presumably potential accessibility applications for the blind, being able to name an item that's already in the user's hand isn't necessarily that useful on its own, but the watch can use these to trigger software or content.
The technology is still very much in the research stages, and there's no indication of how Disney might hope to deploy it – whether as a consumer item or within any of its businesses – but the company does supply a few use cases, including automatically detecting whether a power tool is being used correctly, setting a countdown timer when the wearer starts brushing their teeth, or simply triggering messages and reminders when the wearer opens the door to their office.
You can see the watch, and the example use cases, in the video below.