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Supercharging touchscreen interaction, with Ringbow

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April 29, 2011

The Ringbow touchscreen enhancement device has now entered the prototype stage and is curr...

The Ringbow touchscreen enhancement device has now entered the prototype stage and is currently being sent out to a limited number of application developers

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Without a doubt, touchscreen technology has brought a whole new level of interaction with our devices. Israel's Efrat Barit and Saar Shai, however, believe that the functionality of touch-enabled devices could be greatly enhanced with the development of their Ringbow concept. Worn on the index finger, the ring-like device can be programmed to add extra capabilities to existing actions, activate entirely new touch options, or liberate the user's hands from the surface of the display for Kinect-like, spatial control over touchscreen device operation.

The evaluation prototype of the Ringbow concept is currently being issued to a limited number of application developers to test the kind of functionality and ergonomics destined for the production model. It communicates with a touchscreen device via Bluetooth and presently works only with the Android platform, but will be opened up for development on all touch-based platforms. It also looks a good deal chunkier than the product renderings on the company's website, but that's probably to be expected at this stage in the process.

To the side of the device and within easy reach of the thumb, is a programmable 5-way dire...

To the side of the device and within easy reach of the thumb is a programmable 5-way directional control button. This can be used to add contextual flavors to existing touchscreen interaction, to toggle between menus or different interface displays, or to cater for the manipulation of virtual interface elements and their properties, or of offscreen visuals, and much more.

For example, the up, down, left, right and push inputs could be programmed to correspond to visual elements in a game or application, or add specific functionality to certain actions. Touching a point on the screen might open a browser, while touching the same point with the Ringbow activated might open the browser and head to a favorite site or simultaneously open a widget or app. Gamers needn't bother stretching for a weapon's magazine reload key, as this could be taken care of by the Ringbow.

The wireless nature of its connectivity also means that multi-touch input could be married with spatial gesture-based commands to improve performance and functionality, and certain interactions needn't require the user to touch the screen at all.

Ringbow is currently being issued to a limited number of application developers to test th...

The current clip-on prototype sports a glowing strip to indicate device status and battery level, with charging undertaken via an onboard micro-USB port. Each Ringbow can be given its own unique ID so that different users can interact with the same touchscreen display, for collaborative work or multi-player gaming.

We'll be keeping an eye on this promising technology and will keep you updated with developments.

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.   All articles by Paul Ridden
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12 Comments

Well it looks really comfortable & obviously easy to use so it's a winner for sure. I'm mocking gizmag, this looks a completely pointless attempt. After having attempted to use the finger-based mouse & knowing how well that one worked I can't see how a joy-stick on the inside of the finger would be any easier. This is a waste of time.

I believe that any new mouse-type controller needs to be eye-controlled rather than hand-controlled...

Rex Alfred Lee
29th April, 2011 @ 07:23 pm PDT

How about doing exactly the same thing... but with a pen?? Likely more comfortable and intuitive to use. Surely the hard work has been done already to make that possible.

Andrew Rockefeller
30th April, 2011 @ 06:27 am PDT

...and call it 'Book-Mouse' or 'Page-Mouse'. 'Ringbow' explains nothing to the user.

Clearly I can see that practical benefit, I'm just unimpressed with the implimentation and see barriers to user adoption.

Andrew Rockefeller
30th April, 2011 @ 06:38 am PDT

They really missed one of the best features a device like this could offer, a proximity security device for your computers and smartphones so that only the wearer of the ring could access the devices.

Foxy1968
1st May, 2011 @ 09:02 pm PDT

@Foxy1968... if they did that though they would have to make it a heavy gold band with heat activated writting. "One ring to rule them all!"

I have to agree I was expecting more. Wearing a ring just for a five way button is an anticlimax. I was expecting it to permit gesture control or something.

VirtualGathis
3rd May, 2011 @ 05:58 am PDT

Yeah so where does the "Kinect-like spatial control" come in? I was really excited about this, but as usual with tech mags lately, the actual facts don't make for anything like the introduction. Stupid. I'm about to unsubscribe, like I did from gizmodo

Danie Clawson
3rd May, 2011 @ 12:45 pm PDT

I think: Brilliant in its simplicity. Touch screens are lacking and this can really make them a complete solution.

Tom Delany
5th May, 2011 @ 06:39 am PDT

I actually get the concept behind it. It's not meant to replace the mouse, it is meant to improve touch interaction. It's not a joystick, it's a complementary tool to add functionality. I want one - my iPad is looking for a friend :)

Nica Perkins
5th May, 2011 @ 06:47 am PDT

I love the idea of having mouse functionality additional functionality in a ring device. It would speed up pretty much all of my application usage and make gaming a lot more fun. It would also be great for design work, so that I can just keep going with a piece of work, rather than interrupting to change my settings all the time. I'm intrigued...

aliciazs
5th May, 2011 @ 07:05 am PDT

Awesome! This make touch screens even MORE fun than they are now

also nice to look at in design

Vishal Patel
5th May, 2011 @ 08:09 am PDT

It looks amazing, On the one hand elegant to use, and useful on the other.

looking forward to try it for real:)

mia
5th May, 2011 @ 09:58 am PDT

Looks cool. I want one!

Jesica
5th May, 2011 @ 02:45 pm PDT
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