ring, wristband allow users to control smart
tech with hand gestures
New technology created by a team of Georgia
Tech researchers could make controlling text
or other mobile applications as simple as
Using acoustic chirps emitted from a ring
and received by a wristband, like a
smartwatch, the system is able to recognize
22 different micro finger gestures that
could be programmed to various commands -
including a T9 keyboard interface, a set of
numbers, or application commands like
playing or stopping music.
A video demonstration of the technology
shows how, at a high rate of accuracy, the
system can recognize hand poses using the 12
bones of the fingers and digits '1' through
'10' in American Sign Language (ASL).
"Some interaction is not socially
appropriate," said Cheng Zhang, the Ph.D.
student in the School of Interactive
Computing who led the effort. "A wearable is
always on you, so you should have the
ability to interact through that wearable at
any time in an appropriate and discreet
fashion. When we're talking, I can still
make some quick reply that doesn't interrupt
The system is also a preliminary step to
being able to recognize ASL as a translator
in the future, Zhang said. Other techniques
utilize cameras to recognize sign language,
but that can be obtrusive and is unlikely to
be carried everywhere.
"If my wearable can translate it for me,
that's the long-term goal," Zhang said.
system is called FingerPing. Unlike other
technology that requires the use of a glove
or a more obtrusive wearable, this technique
is limited to just a thumb ring and a watch.
The ring produces acoustic chirps that
travel through the hand and are picked up by
receivers on the watch. There are specific
patterns in which sound waves travel through
structures, including the hand, that can be
altered by the manner in which the hand is
posed. Utilizing those poses, the wearer can
achieve up to 22 pre-programmed commands.
The gestures are small and non-invasive, as
simple as tapping the tip of a finger or
posing your hand in classic "1," "2," and
"The receiver recognizes these tiny
differences," Zhang said. "The injected
sound from the thumb will travel at
different paths inside the body with
different hand postures. For instance, when
your hand is open there is only one direct
path from the thumb to the wrist. Any time
you do a gesture where you close a loop, the
sound will take a different path and that
will form a unique signature."
Zhang said that the research is a proof of
concept for a technique that could be
expanded and improved upon in the future.