Fujitsu Bluetooth ring lets you write in the air
Jan 13, 2015 12:57 am | IDG News Service
The ring has NFC functions and is targeted at maintenance and repair workers
by Tim Hornyak
Fujitsu is continuing its push into wearables for the workplace with a prototype Bluetooth ring that lets users "write" in the air so they can work hands-free.
The gestural device goes on the index finger and can be used to write Japanese characters, Latin letters or numbers in midair. A linked smartphone or other Bluetooth mobile device with a Fujitsu app can instantly recognize numbers written with the ring with about 95 percent accuracy, according to developer Fujitsu Laboratories.
The ring can also be used to select items in a menu shown in a linked head-mounted display and to retrieve information from NFC (near field communication) tags.
It's mainly designed for workers doing maintenance or repairs, and allows them to quickly add written notes while working as well as call up cloud data such as schematics or instructions associated with pieces of equipment that have NFC tags. Often used in smartphones, NFC is a short-range wireless link that allows two devices or a device and an NFC tag to exchange data.
The chunky plastic ring houses motion sensors, an NFC tag reader and a Bluetooth Low Energy module in addition to a battery that lasts about eight hours. The prototype weighs less than 10 grams.
"This ring could be useful in very noisy work environments, for instance, where communication is difficult," said Yuichi Murase, a research manager at Fujitsu's Human Centric Computing Laboratories. "Workers can also use it to write notes on photos they take."
During a demonstration at a press event in Tokyo on Tuesday, a Fujitsu staffer wore a helmet-mounted display linked to the ring. He used the ring to write several Chinese characters, which are used in Japanese writing, such as "new" and "mountain" as well as the characters for "Fujitsu."
A linked laptop traced the movement of his index finger in the air as it went through the strokes. The characters were quite messy since they were drawn in the air, but the system almost always recognized them correctly.
The recognition technology developed by Fujitsu is able to distinguish and ignore the unwanted connections between the strokes. The more strokes a character has, the better the recognition rate, according to the company.
The development follows on the lab's development of a wearable in the form of a mesh-like glove. Unveiled in early 2014, the glove links with a head-mounted display to speed up maintenance work and in other applications where NFC tags are often used.
Fujitsu is continuing to test the Bluetooth ring with an eye to launching it for enterprise users by April 2016.
- See more at: http://www.itnews.com/hardware-systems/87578/fujitsu-bluetooth-ring-lets-you-write-air#sthash.KQ99beTo.dpuf
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Mobile Devices --The basic tools that businesses and consumers use to interact with each other are currently undergoing a major behavioral shift. More than one-third of the conventional PC market is on the verge of being replaced by smartphones and tablet computers in the coming year and this trend shows no signs of slowing. By 2014, it is predicted that mobile Internet usage will overtake traditional desktop usage.
Cloud Computing --As businesses look for new ways to scale back on overhead and infrastructure costs, they are turning increasingly to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and other cloud-based computing solutions. Spurred in no small part by growing consumer confidence in this new technology, more and more businesses are discovering the advantages of moving their software applications to remote private cloud networks. As the economy recovers and growth resumes, these solutions allow for low-cost, on-demand scalability.
Virtualization --Just as cloud computing and SaaS have revolutionized the way companies access their software applications, recent trends in virtualization are allowing businesses to eliminate entire server farms and slash the associated operating costs. In addition to streamlining and making IT infrastructure more economical and flexible, server virtualization has laid the groundwork for more strategic IT initiatives going forward. As a result, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (in which companies rely on equipment owned by service providers) and Platform-as-a-Service (IaaS with a software development framework) are also growing in popularity.
Telework/Virtual Offices --With cloud computing capabilities and other advances in office connectivity growing by leaps and bounds, companies worldwide are realizing the cost-saving benefits of virtual office environments. By moving away from traditional physical office-based business models toward remote network structures, more and more businesses are taking advantage of this new technology to increase productivity and reduce overhead.
Alternative Productivity Applications -- Influenced by the recent economic downturn, companies are looking for new methods of improving productivity, increasing employee efficiency and optimizing their overall business processes. In this pursuit, new solutions in videoconferencing, unified communications and business intelligence applications will continue to grow and develop, since they help employees to work collaboratively in remote office environments. In addition to improvements in these already established areas, there is considerable demand and room for growth in the productivity software sector, with more and more businesses adopting new programs designed to improve efficiency, lower operating costs and streamline business processes.
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