Augmented reality can now be harnessed with just a few flicks of a finger, thanks to the ‘magical’ ring invented by a graduate student from the Royal College of Arts in London.
For years, developers and engineers have been working extra hard to bring augmented reality experiences to greater heights. Even tech giants like Facebook invested money and effort to develop devices for people to navigate the spatial computing landscape.
AR devices typically come in the form of smart glasses. A good example is the Google Glass that has just recently made a comeback. Unlike virtual reality or VR devices, you do not have to be connected to a PC to use AR devices.
With augmented reality, you are only adding a few bits of virtual reality into the actual world. Pretty much like the Pokémon Go game where people use their mobile devices to merge our world with those of the Poké monsters.#AR experiences can now be controlled with just a few flicks of a finger!Click To Tweet
Moving away from the typical AR glass models, a student of the Innovation Design Engineering Program at the Royal College of Arts in London instead created a ring to control the augmented reality experience.
Scroll: The Closet Thing we got to a Magical Ring
Dubbed as Scroll, the ring invented by Nat Martin looks just like an ordinary ring. It should be noted that most AR experiences today allow interactions through smartphones or handheld controllers. Scroll’s design is a far cry from these AR devices since the ring sits directly on a user’s hand and requires minimal gestures.
Scroll makes use of the ARKit software platform and contains an Arduino circuit board, a capacitive sensor, gyroscope, accelerometer, and a Softpot potentiometer. The ring works with other AR devices that support Unity game engines such as the Google Cardboard and the Microsoft Hololens.
In essence, the ring works by opening and closing the fingers in a scissor motion. However, other gestures should be used to utilize Scroll entirely. The most basic gestures include pointing fingers like with a laser pointer, hand flicking, tapping the ring, and scrolling the thumb against the side of the ring.
Because of these simple operating gestures, Scroll can be used in public without attracting too much attention. According to Martin, Scroll is the product of his search for a more “delightful and intuitive” AR interface. He said:
“Scroll is a proposal for rethinking our everyday digital interactions in space using emerging AR technologies to create a more delightful and intuitive means of interacting with everyday digital functions.”
“The more an interface is able to make use of intuitive meaning, the more efficient and simple it can be.”
Martin also designed an interface that converts the “everyday digital experience” into AR to demonstrate the potential of Scroll. According to Deezen, a user will be able to see features such as calendars, playlists, and maps.
All these are shown as visualizations superimposed over the users’ view which can be interacted with spatially.
Martin’s Scroll was exhibited at the RCA’s graduate show, which ran from 24 June to 2 July at the school’s Kensington campus.