Ring puts the finger on gesture control
By Darren Quick
March 4, 2014
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.