Scientists have developed a smartwatch that works in multiple dimensions and allows users to see and feel virtual objects while watching videos or playing games.

“Understanding and improving how humans interact with computers are essential parts of technology development,” said Xing-Dong Yang, assistant professor at Dartmouth College in the US.

The smartwatch called RetroShape will allow users to view a video or play a game, and provide feedback that lets them feel a ball bounce or an asteroid explode.

Each pixel on RetroShape’s screen has a corresponding tactile pixel – or taxel – on the back of the watch face, allowing the virtual world to be extended to the 2.5 dimensional physical space.

The construction allows watch developers to use the wearer’s skin under the watch face for feeling output that matches the visual content being displayed on the watch.

The back to the watch face is constructed using 16 independently moving pins that allows for the real-life rendering of shapes and movement, researchers said.