Fujitsu Labs' Smart Ring Interprets Your Air Writing

Acknowledging that “wearables ... have been making inroads into the workplace” lately, Fujitsu Laboratories are cooking up a more efficient way to interact with such devices. Wearables, be them smartwatches or head-mounted displays, free up hands for maintenance tasks at factories and the like, but inputting text and interacting with UI elements is understandably difficult. Also, voice input sometimes isn't an option.

So, Fujitsu are developing a wireless smart ring, to be paired with the wearable of your choice, that recognizes characters you trace in the air.



Interestingly, the ring recognizes characters drawn in one stroke, rather than relying on a “pen up” button and separate segments. Fujitsu's tech, involving an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetic sensors, can distinguish between which parts of the stroke make up your intended character, and which parts are just interconnecting lines. “Everything from numbers to Chinese characters” is fair game, and the firm claims 95% accuracy for numbers.

Tying into the workplace theme, the smart ring also has an NFC tag reader. Fujitsu envisions workers instantly gathering details on what to do with various objects by scanning their tags. Those details could involve changing the UI options on a host device, or just instructions on how to carry on with the job at hand.



Crucially, Fujitsu's ring is super compact. It weighs “less than 10 grams”, and the prototype doesn't look too out of place on a finger. Further, despite all the tech packed inside (including the Bluetooth transmitter to connect with host wearables), the whole thing runs on a button-cell battery, though there's no word on battery runtimes.

Fujitsu Labs are still “testing the real-world usability” of their smart ring, but they specify a “goal of practical implementation” for this year, and the information they've shared so far is pretty compelling. The focus may be the workplace, but one can probably assume this technology will eventually show up in consumer products.