Google engineer turns a Wear OS smartwatch into a Bluetooth mouse
There has been a lot of criticism about Google’s mobile operating system over the years. Originally called Android Wear, the team felt it would be better suited under the name Wear OS so there would be less confusion for the consumer market (since these devices can run on both Android and iOS). Even with the new branding, the multiple software updates, and UI changes, we are still faced with a wearable OS that some OEMs ignore and opt for their own solution. To help spark some creativity from the Wear OS developer community, a Google engineer recently released an application called WearMouse that lets you control your desktop mouse by waving your hand.
Other than the occasional complaint about certain UI decisions, the main issue the community members have with Wear OS compared to these other mobile operating systems is battery life. Google has continued to improve the battery life of these devices with software updates, but the fact is that it’s a heavy platform for a smartwatch. Google seems to want to do this as a way to offer a complete OS on your wrist that can fully integrate into the Android ecosystem rather than a simple Bluetooth device that alerts you about notifications.
Thanks to this more fully developed mobile OS though, Wear OS can do some very interesting things if you put your mind to it. Hence the new WearMouse application that was recently released by a Google engineer. It’s compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux (including Raspbian), Chrome OS, and Android (including Android TV), as long as the device has a Bluetooth radio. Once the app has paired with the device you have the following features at your disposal:
- Use it as an intuitive pointer for presentations (and also click through the slides using cursor keys)
- Play Fruit Ninja with your arms (e.g. by sideloading it on Android TV, or installing it on a Chromebook from the Play Store), you can see what it looks like here
- Control a media player from the sofa (e.g. when using a computer connected via HDMI)
- Use it as a VR controller in some Cardboard games to walk around (not for Daydream though, since it has its own controller)
- Impress your friends with some telekinetic powers
- Control your Samsung DeX-connected phone
You can find more technical details in the source link below, the source code is available on GitHub here, and the application can be downloaded from the Google Play Store as well.