ARO: Exploring the Design of Smart-Ring Interactions for Encumbered Hands

Fingertip computing has seen increased interest through miniaturized smart-rings for augmenting digital peripherals. One key advantages of such always-available input devices is the non-necessity to hold a device for interaction, as it remains affixed to a finger for access when needed. Such a wearable device makes it possible to interaction with content even when the hand is encumbered, by grasping or holding objects. Our investigation aims at understanding the properties of this fundamental smart-ring advantage. We designed a smart-ring prototype, ARO (in-Air, on-Ring, on-Object interaction), which facilitates input while grasping objects. To better identify interaction possibilities, we present the results of an elicitation study through which we grouped various forms of micro-gestures possible with ARO while holding objects under different grasp requirements. We then explored the ability for users to perform different navigation tasks (i.e. zooming and panning) using the smart-ring with encumbered hands. In our studies, users were most efficient when using either In-air or On-ring interactions, in comparisons to gestures detected On-object. Furthermore, In-air was the most preferred by our participants. Based on our findings, we conclude with recommendations for the design of future smart-rings and fingertip devices at large, to allow efficient interaction while hands are encumbered.

Bardot, S., Rawat, S., Nguyen, D.T., Rempel, S., Zheng, H., Rey, B., Li, J., Fan, K., Huang, D.Y., Li, W. and Irani, P., 2021. ARO: Exploring the Design of Smart-Ring Interactions for Encumbered Hands. In Proc. 23rd International Conference on Mobile Human-Computer Interaction (MobileHCI ‘21). ACM, 11 pages.