A smart ring designed by Apple could incorporate an expandable design, able to extend its length to cover the entire finger and allow the user to take advantage of several sensors and functions.
Apple has already filed several patents on this smart ring, a device that has the potential to provide users with functionality similar to that of the Apple Watch. However, the design is intended to be smaller, without taking up space on the user's wrist.
While part of the challenge of designing a smart ring is to insert components in a small space, there is also the problem of its dimensions which offer little in terms of possibilities of using the integrated sensors due to the lack of surface. Also consider how the user can control this device.
In this new patent, Apple suggests that the size of a smart ring may not necessarily be static, as the device can be of the extendable type and cover the entire finger.
The use proposed by Apple for this ring is as a controller for other devices, for example to replace the tactile feedback systems of smartphones and save battery.
The device could include a case with a variety of sensors, including force sensors, ultrasonic sensors, inertial measurement units, optical sensors and touch sensors, which can be used to collect user data. Haptic feedback could be provided by adding elements that create vibrations inside the device, while the control circuits will manage the transmission of information to and from a host device.
The extension could include an adjustable internal frame with telescopic legs and a cover, making it more rigid and ensuring that entrances can be detected more reliably. By stretching the ring over the joints, the sensors on the case could allow the ring to determine until a finger is bent. This could help control a function as part of a physical gesture.
Apple expects the ring to include knobs and other inputs on the housing of the main ring.