Ring puts the finger on gesture control


March 4, 2014

Ring's gesture recognition is precise enough to identify letters written in mid air

Ring's gesture recognition is precise enough to identify letters written in mid air

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We've already seen rings that unlock doors and mobile devices, show the time, act as a mouse or display notifications from a connected mobile device, but, like the Fin, the Ring from California-based Logbar aims to take finger wagging to the next level. Featuring Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connectivity, the Ring is designed to allow control of mobile devices and home appliances, make electronic payments and even type text in mid air with a wave of a finger.

Designed to be worn on the index finger, motion sensors embedded within the Ring identify the gesture being made by said finger once the device is activated by tapping the touch sensor on the outer edge of the ring. This allows the wearer to perform everything from simple up and down motions to change the volume of a paired device, to writing letters in the air to compose text messages. Using GPS and Apple's iBeacon technology, the Ring can also be used to make payments at stores and restaurants with a tick gesture.

Users can switch between apps by using pre-installed gestures, or customize their own gestures using the companion app on an iOS or Android device. Ring can also be trained to recognize a user's own air handwriting. Logbar is also establishing a "Ring Store" that will house apps compatible with the device, with the company releasing an open API/SDK to encourage third parties to develop apps for the device.

The wearer can also be alerted to status updates or notifications via LEDs or a vibration pad embedded in the device. On the downside, the inclusion of a vibration pad and touch sensor means Ring isn't waterproof, however, Logbar says it is working on a waterproof model. The device is powered by a rechargeable battery that the company says is good for around 1,000 gestures with a mobile recharging stand in development that should be good for up to five recharges of the device.

Its creators say Ring has been tested with iPhone, iPad, Android, PC, Google Glass, smart watches, home automation devices, and web services including Twitter, Facebook and Evernote. The company says smart devices can also serve as a hub to allow Ring to control devices that rely on Wi-Fi rather than Bluetooth connectivity.

Logbar has taken to Kickstarter to get Ring into production with the hope being to begin shipping the device from July this year. The initial batch will only come in silver, but different sizes will be available with backers supplied with a printable measure to ensure a good fit. The US$145 pledge level to reserve a Ring has already been filled, leaving $165 as the cheapest tier to stake a claim for the device.

Logbar's video pitch for Ring can be viewed below.

Source: Logbar

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

The one ring to rule them all...


Already done, already failed, several times. Why? Hand and arm waving gesture interfaces look cool but they're fatiguing to use.

Waving your hand around to control a computer for long periods of time, with no support, gets tiring. Proper use of a mouse, trackball, touchpad, pointer or other direct contact input device and a keyboard includes support for your hands and arms.

What would be an interesting Gizmag article is one covering a large number of these "free air" input devices which have failed to gain anything but a tiny niche in the market, then faded away because next thing to nobody could stand to use them.

What would also be interesting is the difference in actual and perceived fatigue with motion sensing video game controls as used by Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony. How long to people continuously use those controls? What are the differences in limb and body motion that may alter the actual and perceived level of tiredness?

If the game devices are used to control Windows, OS X and Linux operating systems and non-game software, do the users experience different fatigue than with devices made explicitly for computer control?

Sounds like a pitch for an IgNobel Prize winning project but it could provide insights into why a motion sensing computer interface device has never been a success but motion sensing game interface devices have far exceeded the computer interfaces, very likely out selling all the motion sensing computer interface devices ever made.

Have the game hardware designers figured out something that computer hardware designers haven't, or is it simply that waving things about just seems less tiring when it's for play rather than work?

Gregg Eshelman

A standing ovation to “Techcrunchers” for this extreme ingenious device, and a prolonged applause to you for divulging “A Wearable Ring” that nourishes intelligence to control home appliances. It is the most stylish device to control home appliances rather than using remote controls and keyboard for interface. We hope the launch of this ring in different colours to add a great level of style and casualty. Finally the size of controlling devices has decreased!!

Jay Viradiya

The concept is great when you want to control your devices without having to actually touch them, but have you seen the BearTek Gloves? BearTek is making gloves that people already wear so much more functional and fatigue or false positive reads isn't even an issue. And yes, I actually own BearTek Gloves so I am an automatic advocate (-;

Tarik Rodgers
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