Nokia will be showing off their latest input device, the "Nenya" ring, at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. The ring consists of a permanent magnet with poles at opposing sides. The wearer can turn the ring in 8 different positions, which will indicate different types of input. The position of the ring is read with a wrist-worn 3-axis magnetometer, HMC5843, sampling at 25Hz, and a Bluetooth radio. "Clicks," input actuating, is done by pointing the ring finger down, away from the bracelet.
The bracelet, which contains the magnetometer and Bluetooth radio, is not the most decorative, Nokia admits. Plans to incorporate the technology into a wristwatch or jewelry is planned. I would like to suggest cufflinks or a button on a sleeve instead. The ring also give false positives when the wearer is moving. The ring and wrist sensor are very susceptible to damage from magnetic sources, like a credit card or magnetic data storage. Protection and increased accuracy is also being worked on by Nokia. Despite its failings at the moment, it looks like it will be a fun gadget.
Ring fun fact: The name Nenya is from JR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Nenya was one of the 3 strongest "Rings of Power" next to "the one that ruled them all."
pics via Nokia