Apple granted patent for an ‘expandable ring device’

FIG. 19 is a top view of an illustrative expandable ring device with two movable parts coupled by an expandable housing portion. FIG. 20 is a top view of the expandable ring device of FIG. 19 in an expanded state.

There have been numerous rumors that Apple is planning an “Apple Ring.” Numerous granted patents granted to the tech giant reinforces those rumors, and the latest is number US 11971746 B2 for an “Expandable Ring Device.”

About the patent

In the patent Apple notes that electronic devices such as computers can be controlled using computer mice and other input accessories. In virtual reality systems, force-feedback gloves can be used to control virtual objects. Cellular telephones may have touch screen displays and vibrators that are used to create haptic feedback in response to touch input.

However, the tech giant says that devices such as these may not be convenient for a user, may be cumbersome or uncomfortable, or may provide inadequate feedback. Apple’s solution: input devices worn on a user’s fingers that can be used to gather user input and to supply output and which can be expanded or contracted.

Summary of the patent

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “A system may include ring devices. A ring device may have a housing that is configured to be worn on a finger of a user. Sensors such as force sensors, ultrasonic sensors, inertial measurement units, optical sensors, touch sensors, and other components may be used in gathering input from a user. Control circuitry may wirelessly transmit information gathered from sensors and other input devices to an associated electronic device. 

“The information may be used in controlling operation of the electronic device. The housing of the ring device may have an annular main body and an expandable portion coupled to the main body. The expandable portion may include a flap with a hinge, a rotatable housing member, a housing with an internal adjustable frame and a cover, an expandable housing formed from an expandable tube coupled between first and second annular devices, and other expandable structures.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.