Gesture controls are kind of the forgotten child of the modern interface age. Whether it’s never really been accurate enough, or the device required to operate it has been too expensive, they’ve never caught on in the way that touch screen or motion controls on consoles have. However a team from RHLVision Technologies is hoping to change that, with its FIN ring, which gives you full gesture control over everything from your smartphone to your car.
The Fin ring is a Bluetooth enabled device, that can hook up with supporting hardware like your phone, car stereo and laptop, allowing for simple gesture control. It works by you touching your thumb to various other parts of your hand. For example, each finger can correspond to a certain function, so touching your thumb to your index finger might fire up your email application on your phone, or tapping your ring finger could start up the music player.
You can even have separate commands for each finger joint, giving you upwards of 10 different commands at any one time. You’ll be able to configure it yourself too, so that the way your Fin works is unique to you.
The gestures are designed to be easy to learn and simple to use – the developers don’t want your hands or arms getting tired. It also keeps the screen free, which makes gaming on touchscreen devices easier. There’s even potential for head mounted display augmentation, meaning you could control a character in a VR game using just your thumb and accompanying gesture controls.
Thanks to not needing any visual stimulus to use the Fin, it’s thought that it could be an excellent way for those with sight issues to interact with technology. Answering the phone could be a simple swipe for a blind user for example.
The Fin isn’t available to buy yet, though you can pre-order it for $130 (£76) including postage. However, those who backed it on IndieGogo got a slightly better early bird deal at $100. The release date is currently set for September this year.
While the Fin certainly brings the cost down on other gesture controls, £76 is still a reasonable amount of money to do things that you were already able to do, but wirelessly. The lack of a second hand function is potentially problematic, though if you could combine two of the rings to give you dual hand control, then you would have some serious function in a very small form factor.
The Fin is one of the more interesting wearables I’ve seen in the past few months. It’s cheap enough that it could potentially find a decent audience, though not exactly affordable for everyone. I’d want to see one in action myself before giving a final verdict, but it certainly has potential and is unique enough to stand out from the other wearables being pushed at the moment.