Apple is working on a “smart ring”

Apple has applied to patent a “smart ring” that features a touchscreen small enough to fit on a user’s finger.

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Apple has filed a patent for a “smart ring” that appears to have similar functionality to its Apple Watch – but is small enough to fit on its user’s finger.

The company has put in a patent application for a “ring computing device”, which it says comprises a “finger-ring mounted touchscreen” that can be used to control an external electronic device.

As well the touchscreen, the ring will also feature a computer processor, wireless transceiver and rechargeable power source.

Voice control

Apple says it could also be fitted with a microphone to enable voice control.

Similar to the Apple Watch, the ring could also alert its users to updates or events using haptic notifications.

In its application, Apple says: “The use of touch-sensitive surfaces as input devices for computers and other electronic computing devices has increased significantly in recent years.

“Use of existing touchpads and touchscreens, however, may be cumbersome, inconvenient or inefficient for certain tasks or applications.

“Portable and unobtrusive”

“A user’s hands may be preoccupied with another task, for example, or the user’s hands and arms my become fatigued after holding the device in a viewing position for extended periods of time.”

Apple adds: “A ring computing device is more portable than a mouse, doesn’t require a computer, doesn’t require eye-contact with a touchscreen, allows the user not to be tied to a computer, cellular device or tablet to control certain electronic devices (ie televisions), reduces the inefficiencies of mode-switching by not requiring a user to move his or her hand off a keyboard to move a mouse or touchpad and is smaller, more portable and less obtrusive than existing devices.

“The ring computing device can be carried unobtrusively for periods of time by the user and used when the user requires (to, for example, control light of a room as the user enters the room or to control devices at work or in a car).”

Discover more:

• Apple Watch design unveiled

• Do Apple’s bumper figures mask failings of its Watch? And what’s it really like to wear?

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Comments
  • George Kay October 2, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    I personally think Jony Ive’s lost the plot.

  • Alex Brooks October 5, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Ring mounted touchscreen? How big will your fingers need to be?!

  • Gregory Morrison October 8, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    I could see this being useful if they kept the functionality minimal, and the device cheap. For example, having the ring vibrate when you receive a notification, allowing you to put your phone in your bag without being cut off from the digital world. Or perhaps sliding your finger along the ring to increase or decrease the volume of speakers, or the lighting of a room. Very simple features that can be well integrated into daily life, rather than trying to do too much, like the apple watch.

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