Apple Advances their Smart Ring Invention to acknowledge Hand & Pointing Gestures that may Control Home Devices
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a continuation patent from Apple that relating to Apple's possible next-gen wearable device, an Apple Smart Ring. In Q4 2015 Patently Apple posted a patent application report titled "Apple introduces us to the Apple Ring in all its Glory." You can familiarize yourself with Apple's original thinking and multiple patent figures from that report. Apple was granted a patent for their smart ring in October of this year.
When we first posted our Apple Ring patent report many thought that this was a little far-fetched. Earlier this year Amazon seemed to take Apple's patent concept and ran with it. Amazon introduced their Echo Loop smart ring in September. All of a sudden, the Apple Ring seemed to be in the realm of possibilities; a next-gen wearable device that could extend Apple's leadership in this market category.
In today's continuation patent report we highlight some of the new patent claim additions that Apple legal had made in order to better protect the Apple ring invention.
First and foremost, Apple's "Method" in their granted patent was focused on a micro touchscreen on the ring. The continuation patent however focuses on a "hand gesture" followed by Patent Claim #3 that refines the hand gesture to being a "pointing gesture," as you'll see in full below:
Patent Claim #1: A method for controlling an external electronic device, comprising: at a wireless ring device disposed on one or more fingers of a hand of a user: detecting an input via the wireless ring device; and in response to detecting the input: in accordance with a determination that a predefined hand gesture directed toward a first external electronic device was performed, using the ring device, prior to detecting the input, transmitting instructions to change an output of the first external electronic device based on the input; and in accordance with a determination that the predefined hand gesture directed toward a second external electronic device was performed, using the ring device, prior to detecting the input, transmitting instructions to change an output of the second external electronic device based on the input.
Patent Claim #2: The method of claim 1, including, prior to detecting the input: detecting the predefined hand gesture performed using the ring device; in accordance with a determination that the predefined hand gesture is directed toward the first external electronic device, establishing a wireless connection with the first external electronic device; and in accordance with a determination that the predefined hand gesture is directed toward the second external electronic device, establishing a wireless connection with the second external electronic device.
Patent Claim #3: (The method of claim 1), wherein the predefined hand gesture includes a pointing gesture.
Apple's patent Claim #6 then reveals for the first time that "Changing the output of a respective external electronic device includes changing a sound volume of the respective external electronic device."
Further, the smart ring will be able to change the "temperature output" associated with an external device; change the "Brightness of one or more lights" related to an external device; change an appearance of a user interface element on a display of an external device.
The changing temperature and/or lights would strongly suggest that the ring may be able to work with future Home devices that work with Apple HomeKit.
Apple's continuation patent '0391645 that was published today by the U.S. Patent Office was filed in early September 2019, weeks before Amazon introduced their Echo Loop.