Startup aims to be lord of the gestural rings

Japan's 16Lab thinks its controller ring's components are a differentiator

Japanese startup company 16Lab showed off a gesture-control ring at Ceatec 2014 outside Tokyo on Tuesday. It can be used as a game controller, alert tool and e-wallet.

Japanese startup company 16Lab showed off a gesture-control ring at Ceatec 2014 outside Tokyo on Tuesday. It can be used as a game controller, alert tool and e-wallet.

If you don't fancy a smartwatch-style wearable device on your wrist, how about on your finger?

16Lab is a small Japanese company that's latched onto a potentially big idea -- it wants sensor-equipped smart rings to be a new kind of gesture-control device.

At the Ceatec 2014 tech fair outside Tokyo on Tuesday, the Kamakura-based startup exhibited a prototype version of its ring.

The prototype looks like a chunky metallic ring with a triangular part that houses electronics. It contains a touch sensor, gyroscope and accelerometer to track its position.

It also has a Bluetooth connectivity module produced by Alps Electric, whose booth at Ceatec hosted a display for the ring. It's also waterproof.

The ring can be used as a gestural controller. During a demonstration, staffers were waving it in the air to manipulate animated rings on a display.

Gaming interfaces are one potential application. Using the ring is a bit like playing with a Nintendo Wii Remote, which uses motion sensing to control video games.

The ring can also be used as an alert tool that vibrates, as well as a contactless key or an electronic wallet, 16Lab said. The latter feature could be like http://www.pcworld.com/article/2604353/applepay-aims-to-replace-your-wallet-with-an-iphone.html">Apple Watch and its Apple Pay function.

The 16Lab ring isn't the first of its kind. Earlier this year, California-based Nod unveiled a gesture-control ring that can be used for applications such as typing with an on-screen keyboard or controlling a smartphone's music player.

It's part of a larger wearables move away from touchscreens as a user interface, with the aim of freeing people from the need to look at and touch a mobile device to control it.

"We want to carry computing power to something outside the display," said 16Lab CEO Ko Kijima, who believes his ring is more accurate than that of Nod.

"Our ring has exclusively custom-made components that are built for safety and reliability. That's going to be a great differentiator compared with other startup companies."

The company will start preorder sales this year and plans to begin shipping the rings in 2015, mainly targeted at developers.

They will be available in Japan and seven other countries. 16Lab has not announced other details about the ring, including its official name or a price.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags 16Labconsumer electronicsCEATEC

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Hornyak

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?