According to the US Patent & Trademark Office in a report published this morning, Apple has applied for a patent titled “Devices and Methods for a Ring Computing Device.” The abstract goes further on to describe a voice activated ring device:
A user controls an external electronic device with a finger-ring-mounted touchscreen that includes a computer processor, wireless transceiver, and rechargeable power source; the ring is worn on a first finger receives an input from a second finger, selects one of a plurality of touch events associated with the input, and wirelessly transmits a command associated with the touch event to the external electronic device.
You can scroll through the list of claims that are all pretty standard features for a wearable device – rechargeable, touch screen, wireless receiver, voice activated, and even haptic feedback from the ring to the user. However, some key points make things very interesting.
[Claim #8.] The device…further comprising a sensor for sensing a writing motion of the user, wherein the wireless transceiver transmits information to the at least one external electronic device related to characters written by the user.
[Claim #12] The method…wherein selecting the one of the plurality of touch events comprises recognizing a gesture made by the user that is associated with the command.
The ring clearly indicates motion detection and the ability to translate that motion into data that will transmit to an external device, perhaps a tablet or a computer. Taking notes by just mocking the writing with your hand in the air, translating sign-language, even commands that activate by predetermined gestures, this opens up a whole new level of use for wearable technology.
The size of the screen is going to be rather limited, so the touchscreen capabilities are likely going to more heavily rely on voice or motion activation. The patent application also has several mentions of an NFC chip for transmitting information to nearby external devices. Drawings of the device are included, making it appear as a pretty much what you would expect – a tall ring with a screen on it.
No word from Apple on when or if the device would see a public reveal, although the announcement may be a little premature as the patent has just been filed. Apple had previously filed for a ring computing platform patent back in April of 2015 however it seems to relate to a separate unpublished patent application from 2014, according to AppleInsider.Source: AppleInsider.com