A new piece of gesture-controlled technology called Ring has far surpassed its funding goal of $250,000 through Kickstarter (pulling in $880,998) and will begin shipments in July. Logbar, the team behind Ring, is looking to ride the coattails of the wearable technology boom while implementing a completely unique way to interact with the digital world. With the tap of a button and the wave of one's finger, numerous devices can be accessed and controlled by the small gadget in an innovative and seemingly simple manner.
The company has verified Ring will (and already can) communicate and work with numerous platforms, including iOS, Android, PC, wearable devices, social media, home appliances and lighting — as well as other controllable tools and gadgets, like quadcopters. With all this connectivity, Ring users can do things like pay bills, send texts or turn on the TV with only a few simple gestures. Conceptually, Ring actually seems very cool.
However, "cool" doesn't necessarily translate to useful as far as the gesture tech world is concerned. Remember the totally awesome Power Glove for the original Nintendo? That thing was practically useless when trying to play those now-retro 8-bit games, especially when compared with the ease of just using a standard Nintendo controller.
Obviously tech has advanced at a ridiculous pace since the Power Glove, but with Ring, it feels like the same situation would occur. After further consideration, there are a number of reasons why I think this device likely won't see widespread use.
1. Gesture texting takes far longer than just pulling a phone out of a pocket or purse and typing (or Swyping or SwiftKeying) a message on a smartphone.
2. It's too conspicuous and thick to be worn throughout the day.
3. To end a gesture, the user has to hold his or her finger still for a moment. So, if I'm walking and start a gesture, I have to stop everything to finish the gesture before I can do anything else with my hand (like open a door) less I want to send unintelligible texts to my colleagues or dim the lights in my home at a weird time.
4. What's the security protocol on payments? If someone steals a Ring, it seems that they'd be able to go nuts with one's money at any of the (maybe) two stores that actually allow payment with this technology.
Of course, there's a chance that I'm just being overly cynical of this otherwise fascinating product, but I just can't see a real use for it beyond showing off finger waving while it's still novel. Could I be completely wrong and see the world embrace Ring? Sure. Will users tire of wasting time and energy by attempting to gesture all of their text messages? Much more probable.