Smart Ring: Tiny sensors to Control Mobile On-body Devices

Smart Ring: Tiny sensors to Control Mobile On-body Devices

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Futuristic wearables such as Apple Watch, on a course to become mainstream soon, have one flaw – a tiny screen size making those difficult to navigate. To overcome the drawback, computer scientists at Saarland University have come up with an alternative named “DeformWear.” A miniscule switch, about the size of the head of a pin, is embedded onto a ring so that it can be worn on the body. Not only can it be moved in all directions, but also pressed, pinched, and pushed left, right, up, and down.

How the Experiment was carried out?

The main issue with smartwatches and other similar mobile devices are that their interactive screens are too small. This allows only a few control commands to be carried out through individual touches. To tackle the problem, the research group at Saarland University is finding new ways to operate small body-worn mobile devices quickly and discreetly. In an earlier research project, it was revealed that human skin can also work as an input device. Additional study also yielded a sensor meant to make robot hands more sensitive. Although the sensor was tailored for robotics, researchers found its tiny form also suitabke for body-worn mobile devices.

To test the idea, researchers made this sensor into a ring, a charm, and a bracelet, that were no bigger than a 50-cent piece. The primary job was to create gestures to manipulate mobile devices. The researchers tested it on a smartwatch and virtual reality glasses.

Despite the tiny surface, the interactions turned out precise and expressive, since they leveraged the fine motor control of the fingertips and pressing, pushing, and pinching.