Lord of the Rings was an epic series of films. Peter Jackson directed the movie series based on the novel written by J.R.R.Tolkein. Released in the 2001-2003 period, the series became incredibly popular throughout the world in a short time. The story is based on this powerful ring that allows the bearer to control the users of other rings. The bearer of this ring will have the power to dominate against the will of the other ring holders. The story revolves around wars and clashes that occur because of the ring. The concept of this powerful ring was fascinating for many people around the world so much so that many fandoms and even theories were created by them.
Why are we talking about a movie series right now? Especially about a fantasy ring that does not even exist? It’s because Apple Inc has made the first steps in making this fantasy ring a reality. Many fans of the Lord of the Rings movie series and many tech enthusiasts were excited about the release of the news. But hold your horses. Don’t rush to Amazon or eBay. It’s not released yet nor there has been any official announcement.
The news came out through the ‘Patently Apple’ blog which is famous for publishing all Apple-related Intellectual Property news. The patent published there relates to a smart ring that reminded many people of the legendary ring that comes in the Lord of the Rings series.
What to Expect?
As per the news going around these rings will most probably come with the mixed reality glasses. Apple has been working on mixed reality glasses for quite a while now. News of the $2000 goggles developed by Apple Inc was around for a few years now. Powered with M-series chips, Apple’s mixed-reality glasses would be a combination of gesture recognition, eye direction, voice and movement. Presumably, these rings that got newly patented would be used for better navigation and controlling while using these new Apple glasses. As per the reports that date back to 2019 the goggles will be released in 2023. There haven’t been any updates in this regard. Therefore, you can surely expect many further delays in the release of these goggles though.
Sensor For Mixed Reality Glasses
The ring will most probably act as a sensor for the mixed reality glasses. It will be able to identify gesture movements and allow you to go through the options and navigate yourself while in the mixed reality world with the mixed reality glasses.
Applications of the ring can even expand to virtual reality as well. According to Apple Inc’s agenda, Apple’s virtual reality headsets will be released in early 2023. They are said to be purely augmented reality focused and way ahead in the future in terms of the technology used. This could mean a big competition to all other commonly available Virtual Reality headsets available in the market right now. If these rings were to integrate with virtual reality headsets as well, better control and many other benefits could be unleashed. With rings on every finger, you wouldn’t ever ask for better control of the hand movement of your characters inside virtual reality.
The ring will carry one or a couple of (SMI) or Self-mixing Interferometry Sensors that will be able to detect and identify gestures. You already use the clench gesture to pick up calls when using your Apple Watch. This is an example of the type of gestures that the ring would detect with its gesture recognition.
Control Other Devices
Another possibility is that ring could be used to control another device. Be it your iPhone or even your Apple watch. The ring could come with a touch screen mounted on the ring. A computer processor, a wireless transceiver, and a rechargeable battery would also be within the ring in that case. The ring will be worn on the user’s first finger and the input will be given by a second finger. Preferably the thumb of the same hand. The second finger could be used to give the touch commands using the touch screen and control the device considered remotely. But this application comes with a disadvantage. The number of commands available to execute will be significantly limited as a ring wouldn’t house that big of a touch screen.
What Patent Says
According to the patent, the ring can be used in many forms. It could be alone, in pairs, and even with an Apple pencil. Now that’s interesting, isn’t it? This could even mean that you will be able to write in mid-air with your Apple Pencil to create documents, make drawings, and create many other assets while within your augmented reality world.
The patent also shows some other different applications. One is a wearable device with built-in sensors. Another application is using several of these ring controllers at the same time. Apple Inc can allow the user to link a couple of these rings together and use them for gesture recognition as a single unit. That could prove to be a much more powerful sensing mechanism rather than using just one ring. This could mean that they will be able to identify many gestures. This would certainly include gestures such as pinch, zoom, and rotate.
More About The Ring
In a way, this seems to be the only sensible approach. If Apple Inc wants people to replace their smartphones with mixed reality glasses, then it needs to have simple yet advanced and accurate navigation just the way using a finger as a pointing device in our smartphone has provided us. Using a smart ring for gesture recognition is the smartest and the most sensible way to achieve this in my opinion. Apple Inc is not usually messing around when it comes to the quality of the product they are releasing. Until they perfect these smart rings you won’t see them even if augmented reality glasses were to come out.
Apple Inc is notorious for crashing in on newer markets abruptly. This has happened earlier as well. Apple would come in hot with a new product in a new sector they haven’t ventured in and grow itself into a large portion of the market in that sector. Apple Inc will enter into eyewear market with the release of augmented reality glasses. These newly patented rings could play a crucial part in making these AR glasses a success if released along with them. This not only makes AR technology readily available for people but also makes it a common thing in the present world. The usage of these rings could make other competitors in the sector under pressure as well.
But don’t get over-excited as this is just a patent. Apple Inc like any other major technology company often patents many new ideas just to have the rights to them. The company might never even develop some of these patented ideas. But a smart ring is not that much of farfetched of an idea provided the advanced technology we have today. Nevertheless, a smart ring goes well with the augmented reality glasses Apple Inc is planning to release. So don’t lose hope as this could be a reality in the near future.