The AuraRing. Source: Dennis Wise/University of WashingtonThe AuraRing. Source: Dennis Wise/University of WashingtonResearchers from the University of Washington have developed a combination ring and wristband wearable to enable wearers to control other devices using just finger gestures.

The device, dubbed AuraRing, is a wearable that attaches to both the wrist and the finger to monitor the movements of the wearer’s hand. The ring is made up of wires would up to roughly 800 times around a 3D printed ring. Current travels through the wire, generating a magnetic field that is captured by the wristband's three sensors, enabling the wristband to precisely pinpoint the location of the finger.

Consuming just 2.3 milliwatts of power, the AuraRing reportedly generates an oscillating magnetic field that is constantly detectable, according to its developers. Such a configuration enables the tracking the location of the entire finger and not just a few finger gestures. As such, its developers believe that the AuraRing will one day enable wearers to text, browse social media and play games on their phones by simply making a tapping, flicking or pinching motion with their index finger to send data.

During testing of the AuraRing, researchers determined that the actual location of the ring when worn by volunteers was within millimeters of where the AuraRing system determined the ring was.

In addition to enabling smartphone users to manipulate their phones with just a flick of their fingers, researchers see possible use cases for the ring in detecting early signs of Parkinson’s disease or assisting stroke patients with rehabilitation.

More information about the AuraRing appears in the journal Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies.

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