As wearable devices continue to gain popularity, a successfully crowd-funded project by Fin will build a device that turns your fingers and entire palm into a surface for gestures and touch controls.
Wearable devices are on the rise. This year, various manufacturers are coming up with either new devices or upgrades that further refine their own wearable offerings. Samsung, for example, has its Gear 2. Meanwhile, Google is already ramping up on the release of its Google Glass, offering the smart-glasses to more early adopters.
In most cases, wearables are intended to augment the user interface and user experience alongside smartphones, however. For instance, smartwatches are meant to enable users to see notifications at a glance, whilst their smartphones still in the pocket. Smartwatches can also act as remote control devices for managing music tracks, again, without having to directly manipulate the mobile device.
Building on this concept for remotely-controlling a mobile device, RHL Vision, a startup based in India’s Startup Village, and its hardware subsidiary, Palo Alto, CA-based Fin Robotics, is developing a system for controlling smartphones and other devices with a wearable ring. Dubbed “Fin”, the ring fits right onto your thumb, and with the device, you can do various tapping, swiping and other gestures without having to actually hold your smartphone.
Fin is a tiny hardware product that you can wear on your thumb as a ring and it will make your whole palm as a gesture interface. Fin can uniquely recognize each segment of the fingers and can convert your palm into a numeric keypad.
Fin connects to devices via Bluetooth, which means it can be set up to work with any device that supports this protocol. Aside from working with smartphones, Fin can also be configured to control desktop computer interfaces and smartglasses. According to founder and CEO Rohildev NV, voice interaction with smartglasses can be hit-or-miss, and Fin can provide a better means of interacting with devices.
I was working with touch-less technologies since the inception of my company. What I found was that interaction with such devices requires a lot of strain, and since then, I started thinking of a technology that would make the interaction much simpler for end users.
The possibilites also extend beyond smartphones and wearables. Fin can be used as a gaming controller, and can also interface with a car to unlock its alarm, manage climate control and control the audio system. Fin can also be used as a remote control for digital cameras, TVs and other devices.
Earlier this year, Fin ran a campaign on Indiegogo, raising $202,448 in two months, which exceeded its goal of $100,000. Crowd-funders who have contributed $99 are eligible to get an early Fin build, while those who contributed $169 will get a Fin two-pack.
Fin’s approach to gesture controls is certainly fresh, as it involves a wearable device that can also interact with other wearables, as well as larger devices. The company is also taking pre-orders at $120, and the first batch is targeted to ship by September 2014.