Apple has given us the Apple Watch. Will it give us an “Apple Ring”? The company has filed for a third patent (number 10,627,902) for such a device with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.
If it ever actually sees the light of day, the smart ring could be used to control smart home devices, control features of a smart car, and control features on other devices such as Macs.
The use of touch-sensitive surfaces as input devices for computers and other electronic computing devices has increased significantly in recent years. Touch-sensitive surfaces include touchpads and touch-screen displays. Such surfaces are widely used to manipulate user interface objects on a display.
However, Apple says that the use of existing touchpads and touch-screen displays, “may be cumbersome, inconvenient, or inefficient for certain tasks and applications.” For example, a user’s hands may be preoccupied with another task, for example, or the user’s hands and/or arms may become fatigued after holding the device in a viewing position for extended periods of time.
Or, Apple adds, the light emitted by a touchscreen may be inappropriate in certain social environments or even dangerous if it gives away the position of a threatened user. What’s more, switching back-and-forth between different input modes, such as a keyboard and mouse, may be inefficient. Apple says there’s a need “for a more discreet, safer, more efficient, or more ergonomic way to interact with touch pads or touch screens.
Here’s the summary of the patent filing: “A user controls an external electronic device with wireless ring device; the ring is disposed on one or more fingers of a hand of the user, detects an input, and, in response: in accordance with a determination that a predefined hand gesture directed toward a first external electronic device was performed, using the ring device, prior to detecting the input, the ring device transmits instructions to change an output of the first external electronic device based on the input; and, in accordance with a determination that the predefined hand gesture directed toward a second external electronic device was performed, using the ring device, prior to detecting the input, the ring device transmits instructions to change an output of the second external electronic device based on the input.”