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Smart Ring allows writing with finger gestures | AuraRing | Electromagnetic Finger Tracking

Smart technology keeps getting smaller. There are smartphones, smartwatches and now,
smart rings, devices that allow someone to use simple finger gestures to control other
technology. Researchers at the University of Washington
have created AuraRing, a ring and wristband combination that can detect the precise location
of someone’s index finger and continuously track hand movements. The ring emits a signal that can be picked
up on the wristband, which can then identify the position and orientation of the ring. AuraRing is composed of a coil of wire wrapped
800 times around a 3D-printed ring. A current running through the wire generates
a magnetic field, which is picked up by three sensors on the wristband. Based on what values the sensors detect, the
researchers can continuously identify the exact position of the ring in space. From there, they can determine where the user’s
finger is located. AuraRing’s ring consumes only 2.3 milliwatts
of power, which produces an oscillating magnetic field that the wristband can constantly sense. In this way, there’s no need for any communication
from the ring to the wristband. With continuous tracking, AuraRing can pick
up handwriting — potentially for short responses to text messages — or allow someone to have
a virtual reality avatar hand that mimics what they’re doing with their actual hand. In addition, because AuraRing uses magnetic
fields, it can still track hands even when they are out of sight, such as when a user
is on a crowded bus and can’t reach their phone. The researchers designed AuraRing to be ready
to use as soon as it comes out of the box and not be dependent on a specific user. They tested the system on 12 participants
with different hand sizes. This ring and wristband combination could
be useful for more than games and smartphones. For example, AuraRing could detect the onset
of Parkinson’s disease by tracking subtle hand tremors or help with stroke rehabilitation
by providing feedback on hand movement exercises. The technology behind AuraRing is something
that could be easily added to smartwatches and other wristband devices.

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