Thanks to engineers at the University of Washington (UW) in the US, it is now possible to control smart technology with the flick of a finger.
Wearers of AuraRing — a smart ring and wristband combination that tracks hand movements — could control electronic devices through detailed gestures.
“We’re thinking about the next generation of computing platforms,” said Eric Whitmire of UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering.
“We wanted a tool that captures the fine-grain manipulation we do with our fingers — not just a gesture or where your finger’s pointed, but something that can track your finger completely.”
The technology tracks finger location by generating a magnetic field through a coil of wire that runs around the ring. Sensors in the wristband pick up the magnetic field to determine where in space the ring is. That means that the technology could identify flicks and pinches as well as handwriting, and could be used in anything from gaming to medicine.
In addition, because AuraRing uses magnetic fields, it can track hands even when they’re out of sight. For example, when a user is on a crowded bus and can’t reach their phone.
The technology is something that could be easily added to smartwatches and other wristband devices, according to doctoral student in electrical and computer engineering, Farshid Salemi Parizi.
“It’s all about super powers,” he said.
“You would still have all the capabilities that today’s smartwatches have to offer, but when you want the additional benefits, you just put on your ring.”