An impressive Kickstarter project out of Japan was launched recently called Ring. No, it doesn't involve a haunted videotape). This smart ring detects movement with enough fidelity to recognize gestures drawn in the air by an index finger and transmit them to your iPhone. Using the iOS app, users can program those gestures to execute commands, such as translating into text, launching apps, or approving transactions. A small sensor on the inside has to be touched in order to initiate a command, plus there's a vibration motor and LEDs in there to let you know about incoming notifications from your iPhone. There's going to be a Ring store which highlights apps that make use of Ring's API, and they've already tested it with a few popular accessories, like Philips Hue, AR Drone, Google Glass, and WeMo.
In the home, the Ring can be connected to a separate hub which can transmit gestures via an IR blaster to home entertainment systems, or connected appliances on the Wi-Fi network. 6 sizes of rings will be available, and will include a spiffy portable charging stand. Battery life is enough for 1000 gestures, though the exact time in battery life still needs to be nailed down.
Though this is certainly an interesting evolution of gesture recognition, it isn't entirely new. Fin had successfully funded another gesture-based ring, but it was awkwardly set for the thumb. Leap Motion has been polishing touchless gesture for PC for some time now, but a wearable like the Ring or the Myo could bring the same functionality to mobile.
There are still a few of these available at the early bird price of $165, though the $145 tier is all dried up. The Ring will be hitting retail this August for $189. Head over to their Kickstarter page for more details. Who's interested?
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Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.