A patent has been uncovered which suggests Microsoft is exploring the possibility of a smart ring, complete with fitness tracking and gesture control.
The filing concerns a ring working in a similar manner to a basic wearable on the wrist, giving the user the ability to pay through NFC, receive notifications from their connected smartphone and even track activity and heart rate.
Read this: How the Microsoft Band may live on
Unlike many patents we come across, the reference to the device isn't made in passing, with detailed descriptions of the smart ring. Within the listing, Microsoft notes how the 'finger band' (its wording, not ours) would be configured to accommodate a user's finger. That means that pressure sensors would recognise the finger and configure itself to sense changes in the tendons of the finger, and thus be able to recognise different gestures.
As the image in the filing suggests, the Microsoft ring's gestures would be used to control external smart devices, such as phones, digital displays, smartwatches and even smartglasses. Battery life is also hinted at in the description of the smart ring, with the company suggesting that, in one case, "using a 10 mAh battery powered by energy harvested from an NFC-enabled smart phone, the ring could support more than 10 hours of active user interactions."
Now, of course, it's important to keep in mind some of the context here. Firstly, this is only a patent, which means the contents are fairly unlikely to ever see the light of a production line. And secondly, this is Microsoft we're talking about.
While the company has been quite involved in exploring alternate realities through the Windows Mixed Reality series and its own Microsoft HoloLens headset, it's been tapped out of traditional wearables since discontinuing the Microsoft Band back in 2016.
If it was to re-enter the scene, a smart ring would be quite a left-field way of doing so. However, what this does tell us is that it's at least a consideration over at Microsoft HQ, and only time will tell if it chooses to make this one a reality.
Source: Windows Latest