To most people, a ring is a lump of metal that is admired for its beauty, worn to signify everlasting love, or fought over by the unusual residents of Middle-earth. But the folks at Nod Labs think that the next generation of computer interaction could be finger-based gesture control, and they’re bringing a smart ring to market later this year.
Unlike Fin’s highly comparable thumb-ring, the Nod effectively turns your index finger into a Wii remote (remember those?), allowing you to select and scroll through on-screen stuff, or gesture-control smart home appliances. This is made possible by the remarkable tech that’s been squeezed inside the oddly shaped Nod — Bluetooth for communication, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, a thermometer, a compass, two buttons, a capacitive scrolling pad, and a 24-hour battery. It’s waterproof on the outside, too.
Of course, all of this begs the question: what is it for? At the moment, the Nod provides a touch-less way of interacting with virtually all touchscreen devices, and it continues to work if you mirror your phone or tablet content onto a larger screen. While point-and-click is the primary use, the Nod’s touch service allows you to scroll, and rotating your hand from palm-down to vertical (and vice versa) can operate sliders or zooming functions.
Likewise, a number of smart TVs can be controlled via these methods, as can the products of manufacturers such as Nest and Tabu. There’s also an open API for the ring, called OpenSpatial, meaning that other manufacturers can independently make their products Nod-friendly.
At this stage, it’s very hard to tell whether Nod Labs’ technology is going to catch on, but it’s clear that wearables of this type are going to break through soon.
The Nod ring is currently available for pre-order at $149, and is due to ship sometime this fall/autumn.