Apple’s Patent Suggests Smart Ring That Could Let You Control Other Devices

Apple smart ring gesture control
Image credit: Maurizio Pesce from Milan, Italia (Wikimedia Commons)

According to a new patent by Apple, the company’s new smart ring might use a collection of gesture controls, which could allow the user to point their ring at other devices to send commands.

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The previous patent suggested the smart ring would feature biometric sensors, Siri voice assistant, and a small touchscreen and gesture control. But the most recent patent, which changed the name of the ring from a ‘wearable ring device’ to a ‘wireless finger-worn device’, implies it would be used to control external devices, like smart TVs or iPhones. The patent was filed in September 2019 and made public in April 2020.

First spotted by Apple Insider, the patent suggests, instead of being voice-controlled, the ring would have a touch-sensitive display component, and could be gesture-activated as well. Past patents have suggested it could also be expandable so the display stretches to cover most of your finger.

“Although the continuation patent doesn’t necessarily introduce any significant new capabilities to the ring,” says AppleInsider, “it does appear to be aimed at protecting the concept of an “Apple Ring” in a market that’s very different than it was when Apple first started exploring a finger-worn wearable.”

Sketch shows a ring on a finger
Image: Apple

The patent mentions things like changes to volume, temperature, brightness and appearance of a user interface. This suggests the wearable could control a smart home heating system, among other devices.

The new patent also suggests how a user could communicate with another using a tiny microphone inside the device, reminding us of the Walkie-Talkie app on the Apple Watch.

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“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,” the patent says. “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.”

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Sam Draper () is Online Editor at WT | Wearable Technologies specialized in the field of sports and fitness but also passionated about any new lifestyle gadget on the market. Sam can be contacted at press(at)wearable-technologies.com.