While we are still many months away from the launch of Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality device, that doesn’t mean that the company isn’t already seeking to define additional peripherals for their highly anticipated platform. Today it was revealed that the Redmond, Washington-based company has submitted a patent application for a smart ring that’s capable of relaying fine finger movement to the HoloLens, among other possible devices. The summary of the new patent filing reads as follows:
“The description relates to a smart ring. In one example, the smart ring can be configured to be worn on a first segment of a finger of a user. The example smart ring can include at least one flexion sensor secured to the smart ring in a manner that can detect a distance between the at least one flexion sensor and a second segment of the finger. The example smart ring can also include an input component configured to analyze signals from the at least one flexion sensor to detect a pose of the finger.”
While the new ring could be used with conventional tablets or PCs in order to aid in natural user interface (NUI) control, it’s the HoloLens which might show the most promise for the gadget. The HoloLens is usually great at understanding where a user is positioned, however when it comes to fine movements of a user’s fingers, in particular, accuracy can be quite lacking. The ring that is presented in this patent features multiple sensors, including a gyroscope, but the sensor which makes this design so unique is the infra-red one. Using infra-red light the ring is able to not only sense the position and movement of the index finder on which it is worn, but also accurately track the movement and position of the other fingers on the wearer’s hand.
The data collected from the ring can be transmitted back to the device that it’s operating with via WiFi or bluetooth, and the ring could also play an integral part in operating other wearable devices such as smartwatches. Since the screen of a smartwatch is very small, it can oftentimes be difficult to interact with the display. By connecting the ring wirelessly to the watch, the user would be able to make gestures that it can understand and thus they can interact with the watch without actually touching it.
It will be interesting to see if Microsoft does eventually release a product like this, and just how important it may become to the HoloLens augmented reality platform. Let’s hear your thoughts on this device in the Microsoft Smart Ring forum on VRTalk.com.