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October 8, 2014

The one (gesture control) ring to rule them all

by John_A

While many companies are tinkering with lasers, ultrasound and even arm muscles for touchless gesture control on portable devices and desktop PCs, Japan’s 16Lab just wants to put a pretty ring on you. The yet-to-be-named titanium wearable is designed by the award-winning Manabu Tago, and it features ALPS Electric’s tiny module (5.05 x 5.65 x 2.5 mm) that somehow manages to pack Bluetooth Smart radio, movement sensor, environment sensor plus antennas — there’s a video demo after the break. Despite its custom-made 10mAh lithium polymer cell, 16Lab is aiming for at least 20 hours of battery life. This is possible mainly because you have to place your thumb on the top pad (with the ring’s wedge pointing away from the user) to enable the sensors — upon which point the ring vibrates to confirm that it’s active. It’s then just a matter of waving and tilting your hand until you’re done.

In addition to gesture control, 16 Lab CEO Ko Kijima said his ring also serves as a notification tool (presumably by using the vibration motor), e-wallet and contactless key. What he didn’t say was how much it’ll cost, but since it’s entirely titanium, it’s going to do some damage to your wallet. The good news is that you’ll have plenty of time to save up for the ring: the startup is hoping to launch it in Q2 2015 with several size options, though you can also pre-order the partially-plastic development kit edition later this year, if you don’t mind its bulkiness.

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Source: 16Lab

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